It’s estimated that one-third of the food crops we grow depend on pollinators – the bees and other creatures whose help we need to be able to produce many of the foods we eat. Unfortunately, both honeybees and many species of native bees are in trouble. Populations of both are in sharp decline due to pesticide use, disease and parasite problems, and loss of food and nesting habitat. Many kinds of butterflies and other wild pollinators are also in jeopardy. This is why it’s so important to learn about and do all we can to protect all kinds of pollinators. Plants need pollinators – and we need plants!
KidsGardening.org, the Intervale Center, the Vermont Community Garden Network, and other non- and for-profit partners are collaborating to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators and create more pollinator and beneficial insect habitat across Vermont.
Our goal is to increase public awareness in Vermont of the benefit of pollinator- and beneficial insect-friendly habitats and to encourage the creation and preservation of wild pollinator habitat in the state. We also want to educate Vermonters of all ages about the vital role that pollinators play in our food systems and environment and show them the diversity of ways in which they can be involved in pollinator conservation. By working together, Vermonters can have a significant impact on the well-being of pollinators in our state.
OUR POLLINATOR GARDEN AND WILD SPACE AT THE INTERVALE
To provide ideas you can use in your own landscape, we’ve planted two garden beds at the Intervale Center in Burlington with mainly native flowering plants offering food and shelter to pollinators. We’re also letting an area near the gardens “go wild,” creating a natural space that will provide pollinators with food, shelter, and nesting areas. Adding pollinator-friendly gardens and/or wild, uncultivated spaces to your property are great ways to help the insects we depend on and show that you are “wild for pollinators!”
ABOUT THE COLLABORATING PARTNERS
KidsGardening.org is one of the founding conservation and gardening organizations of the National Pollinator Garden Network, an initiative of the Obama Administration, which launched a nationwide campaign called the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge in 2015. Designed to spur the creation and preservation of pollinator habitats across North America, the Challenge is a call to action to help reverse the decline of pollinators such as honey bees, native bees, and butterflies. KidsGardening.org helps educate young gardeners about the vital role of pollinators and the importance of protecting and nurturing them through its educational materials, activities, curriculum, events, and outreach.
The Intervale Center and Vermont Community Garden Network already manage and support many pollinator gardens in the state. In addition to native perennial gardens at their homestead, the Intervale Center manages hedgerows and forests in the Burlington Intervale in support of pollinator habitat and hosts a one-acre pollinator sanctuary in partnership with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Intervale Center’s Conservation Nursery plants 20,000+ native trees each year, largely on farms, creating diverse habitat for the insects that are a critical component of our food web. Vermont Community Garden Network works with hundreds of community-based gardens all over the state. These vibrant food production and community-building sites create habitat for – and benefit from – a wide variety of pollinators. Many of these sites have dedicated pollinator-friendly plantings and/or wild areas. Additionally, Vermont Community Garden Network’s Community Teaching Gardens in Burlington include pollinator and beneficial insect plantings.
We will be launching this program at the end of August, 2016. To learn more now, please email [email protected].