Trick or Seed: Students distribute pollinator-friendly seed balls and build support to eliminate pesticides

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Natalie Woodland

Former Conservation Associate, Environment Colorado Research & Policy Center

BOULDER – A team of CU Boulder students knocked on hundreds of doors in Boulder on the night before Halloween. But instead of asking for candy, they were handing out pollinator-friendly seed balls and building support for eliminating bee-killing pesticides, as part of their Trick or Seed event. As the state with the fifth-most bee diversity, it is especially important to protect Colorado’s pollinators.

The event was part of Environment Colorado’s Save the Bees campaign to protect pollinators. Nearly one in four native bee species is imperiled from factors including bee-killing pesticides, the loss of good habitat, disease and climate change.

“Our world needs bees. They pollinate the majority of our food crops and native plants,” said Gracie Palmer, CU Boulder Class of ‘24. “Since humans are responsible for many of the causes of bee die offs, including pesticides, it should be our responsibility to protect them.”

Even though most people have hung up their garden gloves and shovels for the year, the students handed our wildflower seed balls, highlighting that late fall and early winter are actually a great time to plant pollinator-friendly seeds and build bee-friendly habitats for next spring and summer.

The students also asked residents to sign a petition to support banning the consumer sale of neonics, a class of pesticides that is particularly lethal to pollinators. Neonics are a neurotoxin, which impairs bee senses, making it difficult for them to learn new skills, forage for food, and even find their ways home.

“As an ecology student I know bees are a keystone species, so I’m proud to be out here protecting them,” said Conor Dwyer, CU Boulder Class of ‘26. “At the same time, it worries me when we use pesticides when we don’t need to because it means we’re putting not only bees at risk but our ecosystems as a whole too.”

“Bees are absolutely vital to the health of our planet’s ecosystems and without them, everyone suffers – including us,” added Spencer Henry, CU Boulder Class of ‘26. “As someone who cares deeply about our environment, I find it quite alarming that bees are dying off at a rapid rate – especially when there is something we can do about it, like banning bee-killing pesticides.”

Click here for more information on the Save the Bees campaign.