Reeve Ralph Groening has recently said the RM of Morris Council is turning its attention to quality of life issues. When I queried him on this he said that means, “more park benches and walking paths”. Things that will make outdoor life for humans more pleasant.

But, what about the little guys?

You know, the second most important* collection of animate species on the planet:

the insects.

Where would we be without the pollinators? What would life be like without birds?

Everyone has heard about colony collapse disorder. But few are aware there are many species of native bees. They actually do more pollinating than honey bees. Native or wild bees do not live in hives. They require exposed soil or long hollow grass stems to overwinter. But we keep mowing more and more; and exotic weeds fill in blank patches.

bee helenium Helenium autumnale 11JL09 02 rgm

long-horned bee on native “helenium” flower

Along with long-tongued or long-horned bees, there are hoverflies, regular flies, crane flies, katydids, butterflies, moths, dragon flies, not to mention the beetles and hoppers. Many of them require wetlands for breeding. Yet, we keep filling in wetlands. Or we spray pesticides to eliminate mosquitoes and inadvertantly kill many other types of insect.

black swallowtail butterfly

black swallowtail butterfly

Birds, of course, eat insects. But, with more and more insect habitat being destroyed, grassland birds are in decline across North America.

kildeer 09AP21

kildeer

This is a significant quality of life issue.

I like the flocks of birds and their various symphonies all summer. It’s one of the perks of living rurally. And, I like the splashes of colour flitting about the yard, the buzzing or humming as I walk past flowers. The fascinating creatures I find hiding under leaves ...

If we collectively don’t attend to their quality of life, ours will be much diminished.

* Micro-organisms, which live in soil, are the most important animate species on the planet.

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