BISMARCK – The North Dakota Department of Agriculture (NDDA) and the Dakota Zoo are teaming up to educate the public about pollinators with Pollinator Day at the Dakota Zoo, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. Admission is free from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the first 1,000 people in the door will receive free train tickets to view the zoo’s new pollinator beds.
“Pollinators contribute to 30% of the food we eat, and managed bees contribute nearly $20 billion to the value of U.S. crop production,” Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said. “The importance of pollinators cannot be overstated, and we are eager to help teach people where their food comes from.”
NDDA received a specialty crop block grant to establish honey bee colonies to educate and inform the public about beekeeping, pollinators and how they work.
“We’re using the grant to help update and improve Dakota Zoo’s honey bee exhibits,” Goehring said. “The enhanced exhibit will have newer, bigger observation hives that will be more visible to the public and provide more room for the colony to thrive.”
The new exhibit will be revealed at 10:15 a.m. on Saturday in the Discovery Center, and the bees will move to their new home at 10:30 a.m. Pollinator Day will feature four educational passport stations throughout the zoo. Families will receive a passport upon arrival at the zoo and are invited to get it stamped at each station. Completed passports may be turned in for a sample of North Dakota clover honey and a mini cookbook, while supplies last.
North Dakota is the No. 1 honey-producing state in the nation and has been since 2004. In 2020, North Dakota bees produced 38.6 million pounds of honey valued at over $61 million.