A Plethora of Pollinators

Download the 2 articles and discussion questions for free.


Our April 2020 issue features two companion articles on the technological advances in smart ag pollination. The first “Bees versus Robots”, written by Dave Goulson, details the costs and potential drawbacks of meddling with nature. The follow-up article “Precision Pollination” by Kim Flottum discusses how farmers embrace new technology when it saves them time and money. This is followed up with a one page “Room for Debate” where we encourage readers to discuss the different viewpoints.

We’ve made both articles and the follow up discussion questions available as a free download, as we want 2 Million Blossoms to serve as a platform for difficult discussions facing pollinators. Often the answers are not black and white, so we strive to encourage readers to consider the different points of view and the potential ramifications. Let us know what you think and send us a Letter to the Editor.


This year sees the release of two new America the Beautiful quarters that feature pollinators. The first is the fruit bat of American Samoa. The second features the Regal Frittary butterfly flitting above prairie grasses and commemorates the landscape of the nearly 11,000 acres of the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.

National Parks preserve our nation’s ecological treasures. Spending a few days roaming through a national park transports you back in time, when civilization didn’t encroach on everything. Surrounded by nature, your senses soften, attune to nature’s quite song. The crackling snap of twigs as a squirrel scurries through the underbrush looking for buried treasure. Bird song greets the morning’s light, promising a day of adventure trekking through lush prairie grass or up a steep ravine of a cloud forest…


Filing cabinets do little to spark the imagination. The drab, metal rectangles are reminiscent of office cubicles, taxes, and the necessary evil of storing essential documents. But in the secret spaces behind the National Museum of Natural History’s exhibit halls, if you lean in close to the smooth, cold doors, close your eyes, and breathe deeply, you detect a light scent, drier than fall leaves, crisper than old books, with just a kiss of vanilla—the aged plants of the National Herbarium.

Herbaria are collections of pressed plant specimens that are carefully preserved and organized in metal cabinets. The plants are flat, faded, and brittle, clinging to chalky tabloid paper. Some specimens wait decades in these darkened cabinets, marinating in their aromas, before they see the fluorescent light of day…