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Get some free seeds or drink a beer while helping bees for Pollinator Week

It's a week to celebrate pollinators and raise awareness about how to protect them.
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It's time to step up and do something for the bees.

Monday marks the beginning of National Pollinator Week – seven days for celebrating bees, butterflies, and other pollinators and raising awareness about what people can do to help protect them.

One easy way to help pollinators is by planting flowers and plants that provide food and habitats. You can pick up free "seedles" – wildflower seed balls – at any Minneapolis farmers market throughout the week. Here's an interactive map showing all the locations.

There's also a bunch of fun events happening in Minneapolis during Pollinator Week. Grab a beer and help plant a pollinator patch at 56 Brewing Company on Monday, or plant a tree at the Surly Brewery on Wednesday.

Enjoy a honey-infused cocktail while exploring the garden at The Bakken Museum on Thursday, or tour the honey house and learn all about beekeeping at The Beez Kneez on Friday.

There are also some native plant sales and a bike ride for bees happening next weekend. Check out the full schedule of Pollinator Week events here.

Why you should help

One-third of all the food and drink produced in our country depends on pollinators, a release from the City of Minneapolis says.

But pollinators everywhere have been disappearing by the millions – the honeybee population has been on the decline for a while, and in 2015, 42 percent of bee colonies in the U.S. collapsed. That's a problem because we need bees, butterflies, and other pollinators for a healthy ecosystem and food supply.

The varroa mite is considered by scientists to be the leading factor in bee deaths. Pesticide use, disease, and nutrition have also been cited as contributing to colony losses.

Honeybee colonies saw a little improvement over the winter, but experts say that just means things have gone from “horrible” to “just bad.”

According to the Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota is home to about 400 native bee species.

Here's a few ways to do your part to help bees and other pollinators.

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