Save the bees! DePaul grad giving away pollinator plants to help Rusty Patch Bumble Bee population

A DePaul University graduate student is on a mission to save the bees, specifically a native Illinois bee that is endangered.

And you can help, right in your own backyard.

Urban ecologist Libby Shafer is working to save the "Rusty Patched Bumble Bee." Their population has declined 87 percent in the last 20 years because of loss of habitat, driven by climate change and development, among other things.

Shafer is giving away pollinator plants that are fan favorites of the Rusty Patched Bumble Bees.

"A lot of the host plants for the Rusty Patch Bumble Bee are beneficial for other pollinators as well. The classic example is milkweed is supportive for Monarch butterflies, which is one of the host plants for the Rusty Patch Bumble Bee too. So by growing these plants, we can also conserve other pollinators and benefit the urban ecosystem in many additional ways," Shafer said.

She encourages people to organize their neighbors to create a butterfly and bee pathway to help these insects survive and thrive.