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Help us Support Pollinators!

Help us Support Pollinators!

Posted by Danforth Pewter on Jun 1st 2023

Why are pollinators so important?

Do plants really rely on them for life?

What are some ways we can support them?

All good questions, and the answers might surprise you!

As lifelong nature lovers, we also want to spread the word about pollinators and the crucial role they play in our ecosystem. So let's talk pollinating!


Pollinators are any creatures that carry pollen from one flowering plant to another, and in doing so, fertilize the plant. The most famous are bees and butterflies, but the list also includes birds, bats, moths, flies, beetles, wasps, and sometimes small mammals.

Pollination is an essential part of plant reproduction because pollen contains the gametes, produced by male plants, which are necessary to fertilize the female plants.


Photo by Cindy Gustafson

Pollination is an essential part of plant reproduction because pollen contains the gametes, produced by male plants, which are necessary to fertilize the female plants.

Most plants can't pollinate themselves, which means that without pollinators, the species would die out. Pollinators are responsible for fertilizing over 180,000 different plant species and more than 1200 this is kind of a big deal!

Fun facts: the list of pollinators isn't limited to flying, buzzing, nectar-sipping critters. The wind is also responsible for some pollination. Humans can be pollinators too (but we don't do it enough to make the official list, nor is it possible for us to do it at scale).


Pollinators are responsible for keeping alive the very plants that keep us alive.

According to Pollinator Partnership, a nonprofit that conducts extensive research on the role of pollinators in our ecosystem, the plants that require pollination are the plants that:

  • Bring us fruits, vegetables, nuts, oils, fibers, and raw materials
  • Prevent soil erosion
  • Remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (this is called carbon sequestration, and it's a crucial part of slowing or preventing global climate change)

When we say "plants," we're not just talking about a few flowers here or there. We're talking about flowering plantlife all over the planet, both wild and cultivated . That includes the earth's forests, jungles, wetlands, and meadows, plus cultivated plants—from commercial farms to your backyard garden.

A 2021 study estimated that without pollinators, fertility would drop by 80% in half of all wild plants, and about one-third of wild plant species would not produce any seeds at all. About one-third of our commercially grown crops (think tomatoes, apples, almonds) require pollination to produce the food we eat.

And yet, many pollinators are dying out.

A 2017 report done for the Center of Biological Diversity found that nearly a quarter of pollinator species are imperiled, with a growing risk of extinction. Bees especially are threatened, with more than half of North American native bee species in decline, and 40% of global insect pollinators (primarily native bees) considered "highly threatened."


  • Loss of habitats due to deforestation, climate change, mechanical destruction, monoculture, and recreational use
  • Pollution
  • Chemicals, most notable pesticides used on crops, such as a type of fertilizer called neonicotinoids
  • Disease


Photo by Lisa Fotios

In response to this crisis, countries and organizations, including the European Union, have banned pesticides and fertilizers that are harmful to bees. Research organizations are racing to find ways to curb the disappearance of pollinators, with some positive results.


While many of the consequences have yet to be measured, some studies are doing the work of examining the impact, and what they've found is troubling. In sum, the decline in pollinators is responsible for:

  • 500,000 early human deaths per year because of the reduction in the supply of healthy foods
  • A 3-5% loss of fruits, vegetables and nuts—foods that provide necessary nutrition, the absence of which translates to 1% of human death
  • An immeasurable loss of biodiversity, which contributes to climate change and loss of essential resources for all life on our planet, including humans



Photo by Centre for Ageing Better

While the news is dire, there's still hope—and there are still things we can all do to support our precious pollinators.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Plant a pollinator garden. (Wondering where to start? Click here for tips.)
  • Donate to organizations that protect pollinators. That includes our friends at Pollinator Partnership, whether by donating directly or participating in our June donation campaign (click for details).
  • Reduce your carbon footprint as much as possible.
  • Find alternatives to pesticides in your yard and garden
  • Leave the leaves this fall. According to the National Park Service, dead leaves and organic material such as fallen trees provide food and shelter for pollinators in the winter. Instead of raking the leaves or removing dead plant life, leave it be.
  • Spread the word. Encourage your family, neighbors, and friends to do these things with you.

In honor of National Pollinators Month this June, Danforth is donating 20% of revenue from sales of our butterfly-, hummingbird-, bee-, and ladybug-themed gifts to Pollinator Partnership, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting the health of our ecosystem through research and conservation. (To see all eligible items, click here. Charms are excluded.)

As a way for us to do our part in this mission, Danforth is bringing back some much-loved, formerly retired pollinator designs: the Monarch Butterfly and Bee! These are included in our donation campaign, so all purchases of these handcrafted beauties during June will support Pollinator Partnership.

Thank you for taking the time to support not only small businesses but also organizations doing the crucial work of saving our planet.

To learn more about pollinators, visit Pollinator Partnership. To shop our selection of gifts that are eligible for the campaign, click here.