NEWS

LES joins EPRI, other utilities to celebrate pollinators June 21-25

LINCOLN — LES is joining the Electric Power Research Institute, or EPRI, as it hosts the second annual online Pollinator Power Party June 21-25. The virtual event will commemorate National Pollinator Week, an internationally celebrated annual event supporting pollinator health.

EPRI's Power-in-Pollinator Initiative offers an opportunity for electric utilities and other stakeholders to collaboratively conduct research and build resources to protect pollinators. The bats, bugs, birds and other wildlife responsible for pollinating the food and flowers on our tables are a crucial part of the ecosystem. Protecting these pollinators helps to maintain a sustainable system for our community in the future.

"The Pollinator Power Party gives access to some of the world's leading pollinator experts in a fun way. Through lectures, cooking, art and company storytelling, we help people understand how pollinators relate to them, personally," said Jessica Fox, senior technical executive at EPRI. "The electric power companies in our Power-in-Pollinators Initiative are at the forefront of this effort and leading collaborative research."

"We are so excited to be a part of EPRI's Power-in-Pollinators Initiative. It gives us the chance to work with other utilities across the country, helping each other learn best practices to benefit pollinators," said Melissa Landis, environmental specialist for LES. "The Pollinator Power Party allows us to share that knowledge and experience with our customer-owners in the community — another benefit of public power."

The Pollinator Power Party is for anyone interested in pollinators — from those who have worked on ecosystems and sustainability for years to people looking to learn about pollinators for the first time. In addition to an art contest and origami folding lessons, featured events will include:

Why Pollinators Matter: Monday, June 21

  • The Pollinator Power Party's kickoff event will feature keynote speaker Dr. Doug Tallamy, a professor of agriculture in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, and bestselling author of Nature's Best Hope. 

Art, Music and Culture: Tuesday, June 22

  • Jane Breckinridge of Tribal Alliance for Pollinators (TAP) will deliver the second event's keynote. The director of the Euchee Butterfly and an enrolled citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Breckinridge founded the Natives Raising Natives Project and is the co-director of Tribal Environmental Action for Monarchs (TEAM). She will discuss TAP's current efforts to restore pollinator habitats on tribal lands.

We Bee Wild Cooks!: Wednesday, June 23

  • Helen Cavallo, chef, owner of Food & Bounty, and host of That's Fresh and That's Fresh Colombia, will give us a cooking lesson and discuss how she bases the Food & Bounty menu on seasonal and fresh ingredients from local markets, and how pollinators are integral to the health of food crops. 

Bat Magic: Thursday, June 24

  • Mylea Bayless of the Bat Conservation International (BCI) Network & Partnerships Division, and Dr. Kristen Lear, BCI's Endangered Species Interventions specialist, will discuss the role bats play in pollination.

Monarch Butterfly Science & Bee ID 101: Friday, June 25

  • In the final event of the Pollinator Power Party, Dr. Chip Taylor — world-renowned monarch butterfly expert — will discuss the needs of monarchs, and Dr. Lora Morandin of Pollinator Partnership will walk through a short lesson on how to identify different bee species.

LES joined EPRI's Power-in-Pollinators Party Initiative in 2020 as part of its ongoing efforts to find new and innovative ways to electrify the Lincoln area sustainably. To learn more about the online event and to register, visit www.eprievents.com/pollinatorparty2021.

Join the Pollinator Twitter Party on Monday, June 21 at 7 pm ET/4 pm PT with the hashtag #PowerInPollinators to chat about pollinators, preview party highlights for the coming week, and get expert answers to your burning questions.

For other local ways to participate in Pollinator Week, go to nebraskapollinatorweek.org.