TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation celebrated the installation of more than a dozen new native bee and butterfly houses during visits to the Cherokee Immersion School and the Bonnie Kirk Cherokee speakers village in Tahlequah Tuesday evening.

Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and First Daughter Jasmine Hoskin visited with immersion school students and Cherokee speakers while hanging the new pollinator homes. The homes for native bees and butterflies play an important role in creating sustainable habitats for pollinators, which affect one-third of food supplies across the United States.

“This is our third year celebrating Earth Day by providing new habitats for our native pollinators like bees and butterflies. I am extremely proud of the commitment by First Lady Hoskin and our daughter, Jazzy. Both of them instinctively look for ways to protect our environment, and because pollinators are crucial to the survival of our planet’s ecosystems, they have chosen to continue this important work by inviting immersion school students and Cherokee speakers to play a role,” Chief Hoskin said. “We can all do our part to curb the threat of habitat loss for our pollinators, and building and installing these houses is a great way to make an impact.”

In previous years, the tribe has installed pollinator habitats at the Cherokee Nation heirloom garden in Tahlequah, which is home to over 200 different traditional plants and 26 crops used by Cherokees hundreds of years ago for food, ceremonies and medicinal purposes. The heirloom crops and native plants grown each year in the garden also help replenish the Cherokee Nation Seed Bank, which provides seeds to tribal citizens who are interested in growing their own traditional Cherokee crops.

“I want to help because pollinators, especially our native bees, are endangered. Without them our ecosystems could collapse. I think it is important that we all do our part to protect pollinators because we need to protect the earth as best we can,” First Daughter Jasmine Hoskin said.

The pollinator homes installed at the immersion school, speakers village and the tribe’s heirloom garden are similar in size and shape to bird houses but feature nesting areas for pollinators. 

Download additional photos