Bombus pennsylvanicus

A not rare, but less commonly seen native bee species here in the Midwest. I love the contrast of this queen bee foraging among the red clover planted in my vegetable garden. Close ups of nature can often yield unexpected surprises in the background!

Bombus pennsylvanicus

Forest Glade – Wildcat Bluff

I recently joined a hike sponsored by our Illinois Native Plant Society into this wonderful hidden gem, part of the Cache River natural areas of the Shawnee National Forest. Some amazing species of flowers, trees, grasses could be found here in early May, including Prairie Dock, a large tall flower I’d never thought to look for outside of vast open sunny prairies where I’d seen it in northern parts of the state.

Wildcat Bluff Cache River natural areas southern IL
Wildcat Bluff, Southern IL forest glade

Native Bees Native Thistle

The plight and preservation of native insects and their habitat is of huge importance to me, and over many years I’ve sought to dedicate my home landscape to encouraging these populations. Though this property is within a rural, primarily forested region of southern IL, the threat to bees is just the same. Animal agriculture, chemical use, drift, climate change…all have an impact. Many people automatically designate the thistle as noxious and something to remove, but if properly identified, property owners can cherish and encourage some native thistle populations which are hotbeds of pollinator activity. Bees and butterflies flock to it.

The cosmos is a native American flower, though not native to the United States. It can be found in regions of Mexico in very dry climate. It’s a prolific annual wildflower that thrives in high heat, and is also a hotbed of pollinator activity. This native bumblebee takes time to rest under a bloom.

Pollinator Yard Signs

Pollinator yard signs

I designed these signs using photography from my home gardens to showcase native plants and promote a safe landscape for the pollinators that depend on them. Illustrator and Photoshop were used to combine elements for the sign design. I often create designs that incorporate natural elements and help to promote awareness on the importance of preserving our natural world.

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