TDOT Celebrates Pollinator Week with Polli the Tennessee Bee

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New initiative educates students about pollination and pollinator species

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) is announcing a series of animated, educational videos about pollination and pollinator species featuring narrator Polli the
Tennessee Bee. These episodes educate children about the process of pollination, its importance, and the pollinator species native to Tennessee.

The initial three episodes in the video series, are titled “Meet the Pollinators,” “Where Pollinators Live,” and “Changing Environment.” Additional episodes are slated to be released later. The episodes, and student and teacher resources, are available for free online at
www.tnpollinators.org/meetpolli. All Polli the Tennessee Bee materials are rooted in Tennessee Academic Standards for Science, target a middle school-aged audience and were peer-reviewed by a cohort of Davidson County STEM teachers.

The video series is the latest project for TDOT’s Pollinator Habitat Program, which was established in 2017 and resulted in adjusted mowing and herbicide application practices for TDOT-owned Rights-of- Ways. The program also fostered partnerships to plant pollinator meadows at nearly 15 sites across the state.

“Pollinators are vital to life, growing food, and the economy of Tennessee,” TDOT Commissioner Butch Eley said. “This effort is an excellent way to educate the public about their critical importance and the threats they face.”

Pollinators are a diverse group of species, including birds, bees, butterflies, bats, and beetles. They are critically important to life and pollinate one-third of the food we eat. Pollinator numbers are in steady decline because of loss of habitat, pests and pathogens, exposure to pesticides, and other stressors. In response, language promoting pollinator-friendly practices along publicly owned Rights-of-Way was included in the nation’s previous transportation funding law, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act (Pub. L. 114-94) in December 2015. Programs and language from the FAST Act were carried forward under the nation’s current law, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), passed in November 2021 (Pub. L. 117-58).

National Pollinator Week is June 20-24 and is a nationwide effort at building awareness and attention to the steps everyone can take to protect and restore pollinator populations. Please follow @myTDOT on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for our Pollinator Week social media campaign. More information about National Pollinator Week can be found at https://www.pollinator.org/pollinator-week.

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