5K run to benefit pollinators

Great River Coalition will host a 5K run/walk on Earth Day April 22, to draw attention to the plight of pollinators.

The race will begin and end at Boom Island Park, and participants will run along the Mississippi River. The coalition hopes to draw attention to the fact that “we’re also in a declining situation” without bees and pollinators, said Diane Hofstede, president of the coalition’s board of directors.

“We want to focus starting in our own backyard,” Hofstede said.

Bees pollinate everything from fruits and vegetables to nuts and flowers, according to the University of Minnesota’s Bee Lab.

More than one-third of the world’s crop species depend on bee pollination, an ecological service valued at $20 billion annually in North America, according to the lab.

However, the number of managed honeybee hives has decreased by 50 percent since the 1950s, according to the lab. A National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report found that parasites and pathogens clearly have harmed some managed pollinator species.

Hofstede said the coalition is working on policies to ensure the creation of pollinator habitat. It’s also educating the public on the value of un-mowed lawns, which “create sustenance for pollinators,” she said.

She pointed to the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board’s new Ecological System Plan as a chance to improve habitat for pollinators in the city.

The coalition is hosting a river cleanup after the race. It’s encouraging people to dress up in bee colors for the event, and Hofstede said there will be a contest to judge the best- looking bee. There will also be a beehive and native flowers available for purchase.

Visit register.chronotrack.com/r/27570 to register.