Zitani and Thorn: Bananas do nothing for pollinators

It was recently Pollinator Week (June 15-21) and groups across North America are celebrating ways to improve much-needed habitat for pollinators. At Western, we have bananas. (And they’re not even pretty.) If you are unaware of the Plight of the Pollinators, you can read up on it here.

Western has an outstanding sustainability track record, but there are always ways to improve. Western’s gaping hole is in its landscaping.

Bananas. Case in point. (“Western branches out with tropical flora,” Western News, June 3.)

At the very least, in place of the bananas, there could be non-native perennial wildflowers. They would, at least, provide food (pollen and nectar) that many pollinators, such as bumble bees, need to survive.

If Western really wanted to get serious about creating pollinator habitat it could utilize a variety of native plant species, e.g., milkweeds, any native grass species, native Hibiscus, that would additionally support butterfly pollinators by providing foliage for caterpillars. Planting perennials would also negate the need to transport bananas (or other tropicals) across campus in vehicles using fossil fuels, saving Western time and money.

These ideas have been suggested to Western on more than one occasion. We have even offered our free advice.

Perhaps if we call ourselves consultants and charge a fee, we’ll get hired.

Nina Zitani
Greg Thorn
Department of Biology