Press Releases

The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund Unveils Unique Conservation Solution at Beekeeping Conference

January 9, 2017

(Salt Lake City, Utah) The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund (formerly the Honey Bee & Monarch Butterfly Partnership) recently unveiled its unique conservation solution and fundraising campaign at the 2017 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow in Galveston, Texas. The group’s presentation to attendees included video, as well as strategies and tools for establishing critical habitat for pollinators and wildlife.

A collaboration of Pheasants Forever, Project Apis m. and Browning’s Honey Co., The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund raises critical dollars to identify and establish NextGen Habitat Projects that help make a difference in pollinator populations by increasing and improving pollinator forage and habitat. The group seeks to raise funds from corporate and individual donors to support further expansion of NextGen Habitat Projects among landowners, thereby making a measurable difference in pollinator populations.

Why Is This Important?
Critical wildlife habitat is disappearing in the United States. As a result, honey bees and other pollinators like monarch butterflies are in serious decline. These pollinators are essential to life as we know it. In fact, about one-third of global food production and billions of dollars in agriculture are dependent on pollinators to some degree. That’s why honey bees are vital to agriculture – they pollinate most of the fruit and vegetable crops humans (and livestock) consume every day – about 90 different crops.

Peter S. Berthelsen, Director of Habitat Partnerships at Pheasants Forever, Inc. and Quail Forever, discussed this further. “The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund is unique in that it has found the way to plant cost-effective pollinator habitat that establishes quickly and provides great pollinator benefits. It’s the trifecta of getting great pollinator benefits onto the landscape. If we try to solve the critical problems for pollinators using the same tools and methods we have used for the last decade, we won’t be successful. The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund brings new strategies, methods and partners together to help save monarch butterflies, honey bees and other pollinators, not to mention the nation’s food supply and beautiful landscapes.”

How Can Creating a Better Habitat Help?
Nutrition is the most basic and fundamental requirement for healthy pollinators. The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund works to give honey bees and monarch butterflies access to abundant, diverse and pesticide-free floral resources to help them live longer and healthier, so that they can become more productive at the same time. By facilitating the precise development of honey bee and monarch butterfly habitat, the team provides resources for all other pollinators and wildlife as well.

“The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund is a unique conservation effort, targeting acres in regions where conversion to soy and corn is happening very fast,” Danielle Downey, executive director of Project Apis m., explained. “By identifying places where habitat makes the most sense, the bottom line improves for the grower, beekeeper, monarch, upland songbirds and game birds, honey bees and native pollinators – it’s a program that can’t lose!”

How Did The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund Develop?
In response to the long-term, continued loss of high-quality, nutritious forage for honey bees and critical habitat for monarch butterflies, The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund was formed as Honey Bee and Monarch Butterfly Partnership in 2014. Over the last two years, a pilot program was opened to landowners in North and South Dakota. The program intended to demonstrate how critical habitat could be developed by identifying NextGen Habitat Projects – those areas where habitat can make the most difference for pollinators. This program creates critical habitat that can be cost-effective and highly diverse, while producing outstanding results.

What Are Future Plans?
Currently, 124 projects from North and South Dakota have enrolled in the program. The average project size is 15 acres for six years, with more than 6.5 million milkweed seeds planted to date. The program will expand to four more states (Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Nebraska) this year.

“The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund is the bees’ buzz!” Zac Browning, co-owner of Browning’s Honey Co., Inc., said. “The effort is integrating the very best performing habitat solutions where they are most needed, by bringing landowners and beekeepers together in a program where everyone benefits. It’s our goal to make every available acre the best it can be. It’s truly amazing just how much difference an acre can make when the habitat is engineered for maximum productivity!”

Using funds donated by generous corporate sponsors and individual donors, The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund identifies opportunities to establish critical pollinator habitat to help honey bees, monarch butterflies and other wildlife populations thrive. The organization works together to build healthy, sustainable pollinator habitat by using science-based proven results. The Fund brings together landowners, conservationists, scientists and beekeepers to precisely target pollinators’ needs by engineering projects that provide appropriate floral diversity, density and bloom duration to optimize forage potential. Learn more at www.beeandbutterflyfund.org.

Click here for a PDF version of this press release.

“The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund is the bees’ buzz! The effort is integrating the very best performing habitat solutions where they are most needed, by bringing landowners and beekeepers together in a program where everyone benefits. It’s our goal to make every available acre the best it can be. It’s truly amazing just how much difference an acre can make when the habitat is engineered for maximum productivity!”

Zac Browning, Co-owner, Browning’s Honey Co., Inc.

“This project is a unique conservation effort, targeting acres in regions where conversion to soy and corn is happening very fast. By identifying places where habitat makes the most sense, the bottom line improves for the grower, the beekeeper, the monarch, upland songbirds and game birds, honey bees and native pollinators – it’s a program that can’t lose!”

Danielle Downey, Executive Director, Project Apis m.

"The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund is unique in that it has found the way to plant cost-effective pollinator habitat that establishes quickly and provides great pollinator benefits. It's the trifecta of getting great pollinator benefits onto the landscape. If we try to solve the critical problems for pollinators using the same tools and methods we have used for the last decade, we won’t be successful. The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund brings new strategies, methods and partners together to save monarch butterflies, honey bees and other pollinators, not to mention the nation’s food supply and beautiful landscapes."

Peter S. Berthelsen, Director of Habitat Partnerships, Pheasants Forever, Inc. and Quail Forever