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Party to protect pollinators in Stillwater this weekend

Get your buzz on at the third annual PolliNATION festival.
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Get your buzz on at a party for a purpose in Stillwater this weekend.

The Pollinator Friendly Alliance is throwing the third annual PolliNATION festival on Sunday.

The event blends art, music, and advocacy to raise awareness about some of our most important (and at-risk) resources: bees and other pollinators.

What does a pollinator party look like? Live music, beer, food trucks, games, prizes, art installations on a grand scale, performances, honey, and live bees.

Here's a peek at what to expect:

Of course, there will also be opportunities to learn about pollinator science and advocacy, as well as a few special guests. 

And the Minnesota Pollinator Awards will be presented to local leaders who are working hard to save and protect what the Pollinator Friendly Alliance calls our "tiny giants."

Proceeds from the event will help protect pollinators and build habitats in the metro area. So throw on a pair of butterfly wings and head to Kissing Birch Farm from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

You can purchase advance tickets here – they're $10 for adults, $5 for kids ages 12-17. If you wait until you get there, tickets cost $5 more. Children 11 and younger are free and there are discounts available for seniors and those who bike to the festival.

You can also pay $35 and become a "Pollinator Guardian," which gets you a special edition pilsner glass and Finnegans beer.

Find more info about the food, brews, and music here.

It's not an easy time to be a bee

Populations of bees and other pollinators have been declining over the past 10 years or so, and scientists have been scrambling to figure out why. It's a problem because we depend on bees to pollinate our crops.

"They pollinate like one-third of our food. If the bees weren't here, we wouldn't have fruits and vegetables. We wouldn't even have beef, because cows eat alfalfa, which is pollinated by bees. Everything is connected," Minneapolis beekeeper Terry McDaniel told GoMN earlier this year.

If America loses too many bees, we could end up in a food disaster.

If you want to help save bees and other pollinators, planting a garden is the best way to start. Grow a variety of plants so there's something flowering all season long, providing food and a safe habitat for the insects.

And while you're gardening, use only natural pesticides and fertilizers – many studies and reports say popular insecticides are partially to blame for the dying bee population.

Other ways to help

Tell Minnesota decision-makers to create stronger policies at the state level to protect our pollinators. More info here.

Buy local honey and support local beekeepers by donating to the Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers Association, or becoming a member.

Take a beekeeping class and start raising your own bees – some cities like Minneapolis have made it easier for residents to apply for a permit to keep bees on their property. More info here.

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