October 21, 2020

Master Gardener speaks to James Stewart Chapter NSDAR

Master Gardener Teresa”Tee” Davis with her display table at the James Stewart Meeting (Photo: Carla Brown)

(Franklin) — Members of the James Stewart Chapter NSDAR were thrilled to have Master Gardener Teresa Frazier Davis, from Carroll County, as our speaker at our May meeting.

Theresa “Tee” Davis is an avid Master Gardener. Tee became a Master Gardener after retiring from work in 2010.

As a Master Gardener, she is involved in many activities with an emphasis on teaching young children the importance of gardening, plants, the environment, nutrition and the impact that we have on the world.

She helped plan and implement the “Camp Dirty Knees” program for children as part of her involvement as a Master Gardener.

Tee’s other interest include genealogy research for family and friends, reading, traveling, and of course “digging” in the dirt.   She also volunteers at a local hospital one day a week.

Tee spoke on Pollinators and their importance, for without the pollinators, we would have no food. She urged members to “stop and think before swatting a bug because it just might be a pollinator” that is necessary for plants to make fruit or seeds.

She explained that pollinators work by moving pollen from one part of the flower of a plant to another part. This pollen then fertilizes the plant.

Pollinators are vital to creating and maintaining the habitats and ecosystems that many animals rely on for food and shelter. Worldwide, over half the diet of fats and oils comes from crops pollinated by animals. They facilitate the reproduction in 90% of the world’s flowering plants. “We are losing our bees! They are dying at a rate of 30%,” she said.

Holding up the little cards that we find stuck in the plants we buy at Lowes and Home Depot, she asked, “Do you know what these are?”

After everyone nodded, she read the information on one and explained what it meant in terms of the pollinators.  “These plants have been treated to protect them from aphids, moths, beetles, etc,” she stopped and looked at everyone. “This means they have been sprayed with some heavy duty insecticide.  It kills every bug that touches the leaves.  If a butterfly or bee lands on the plant, it is poisoned.”

She explained that when growers thought to protect plants from destructive animals, they did not think about the harm to the needed pollinators. “Home Depot and Lowes are asking the growers not to do this anymore,” she said.

She demonstrated an easy to make butterfly habitat with a plate or metal pan, some rocks, sand, and water.  Once made, she said to “just sit it by your flowers and the butterflies would find it.”

Tee shared posters that showed many insect pollinators including bees, (honey bees, solitary species, bumblebees); pollen wasps (Masarinae); ants; flies including bee flies and hoverflies; lepidopterans, both butterflies and moths; and flower beetles.

After her talk, she gave each attendee Be A Friend to Pollinators trivia cards, Burpees Bee Garden seed packets, handouts on Protecting Monarchs, handouts on Protecting Georgia’s Pollinators and a beautiful butterfly pin.

Pamela Ann Lyle, the Georgia State Society DAR Conservation Committee Chairman, also provided attendees with GSS Butterfly Seed Mix packets and paper butterflies on sticks.

Tee drew numbers for door prizes. Bonnie Baker and Elaine Jarrett each won a beautiful gardenia and Mary Lane won the butterfly habitat. She presented the state chairman three beautiful posters and some materials to use for a state DAR presentation in August.

Everyone in attendance learned something new and left the meeting determined to save the  pollinators, especially our beloved Monarchs.

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