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Popular with the Pollinators

By Sara Thompson

Special to the Enterprise

honey bee on an orange California Poppy
Honey Bee on a California Poppy; Photo by U.S. National Park Service

Along with building our new Healthy Planet, Healthy You exhibit, Explorit has also been working on the pollinator garden in our backyard. One of the easiest ways to keep our planet healthy is to help our pollinators, by planting plants that they use to survive. Many plants have several pollinators that are attracted to them, while others rely on a single pollinator. Explorit is clearing out the invasive plant species that have creeped into our yard and replacing them with native and non-invasive species that will attract more pollinators and help them thrive.

While viewing our pollinator garden, our guests will see California poppies, our State Flower, during the springtime. A variety of pollinators are attracted to these bright, orange flowers including beetles, butterflies, and a variety of bee species including our native bumblebees. Explorit staff and volunteers have been saving milkweed seed pods so we can plant more. Endangered monarch butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed plants and that insect pollinates countless varieties of wildflowers. Explorit also has two elderberry trees in our back garden, which are essential to our native elderberry beetle, who spend most of their lives on the plant and are their exclusive pollinators.

Explorit has had help from many local organizations and individual contributors helping to make our pollinator garden thrive and become popular with our pollinators. We have received the most help from our local Master Gardeners who have identified which plants in our yard are native and which were invasive. They have organized several workdays and provided expert volunteers to help us with weeding, pulling up unwanted plants, creating a plan for the yard, and leading planting and mulch spreading days. The painting of murals depicting local pollinators and their favorite plants is made possible by a Davis Arts Grant. Several Eagle Scouts have done projects for our garden including building planters, building and maintaining picnic tables, building and painting platforms for information signs, and building a gate to help mark the garden’s boundaries.

Although we have had a lot of community support and contributions over the last year and a half, there is still a lot more work to do. Thank you to everyone who has helped us create a vision and to those who will continue to help us maintain the pollinator garden. We are excited to see the garden come together in the years to come, and it will continue to grow and thrive with the help of our local community and our native pollinators.

Join Explorit by scheduling a timed entry for our newly reopened public hours! Admission includes explorations through our new Healthy Planet, Healthy You exhibit, viewing the progress of our pollinator garden, visiting our live critters in our Animal Alcove, and a make and take craft in our West Wing classroom on weekends. Watch our website and social media channels for the most up to date information on our re-opening schedule. To reserve a timed entry time for the month of October please visit


Explorit's coming events:

• Explorit is open for public hours! Check out explorit/org/visit for more information about our new exhibit and to reserve a time for entry.

• Like many small businesses the closures have had a significant impact on our income and sustainability. Now is a great time to donate and help Explorit continue to educate and inspire the scientists of tomorrow:

• Continue to support Explorit during this uncertain time by becoming a member. An Exploit Membership not only support us but grants the recipient with free visits to Explorit’s regular public hours, discounts on events, summer and after-school camps, and workshops, and gives you ASTC benefits to visit other museums throughout the world. For more information visit or call Explorit at 530-756-0191.


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