The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
The Xerces Society is an international, nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting biological diversity through invertebrate conservation. (Invertebrates include insects, spiders, lobsters, worms, snails, and more -- essentially any living being that lacks a spinal column.)
According to their Web site, "The interactions of invertebrates form the biological foundation of all ecosystems: invertebrates cycle nutrients, pollinate crops and other plants, disperse seeds, maintain soil structure and fertility, exert control over populations of other organisms, and provide a major food source. In short, they supply vital ecological services to the human population."
Visit the Xerces Web site for fact sheets about native pollinators, as well as tips on attracting bees and butterflies. Then go hug an earthworm!
Clever Gardening Technique
Attract Pollinators and Beneficials
Pollinators and other beneficial insects are especially attracted to plants with abundant, nectar-rich blooms, including zinnias, black-eyed Susans, lupines, and cosmos. Many herbs also fit the bill; consider planting dill, parsley, and other herbs among your perennials. Set a few calendula plants at the end of your vegetable rows, and plant low-growing alyssum between plants or along the edges of rows. If there's a bare spot in your garden -- after a harvest, for example -- plant something to protect the soil and attract beneficials.