‘Wild For Pollinators’
What if half or all of Vermont schools and businesses left an area of their lawn unmowed? It would help create a pollinator and beneficial insect corridor to help wild and native bees and other pollinators and beneficial insects that are in trouble. Wild for Pollinators is a collaborative initiative with more than 100 schools, businesses, organizations and individuals joining together to make a difference with an estimated 30 acres of Vermont land designated to date.
About one-third of the food crops we grow depend on pollinators, whose populations are in sharp decline due to pesticide use, disease, parasites and loss of habitat. Wild for Pollinators aims to create an easy way for people to take action to conserve pollinators. “Wild spaces are attractive because of their benefits to the ecosystem, and anyone can be part of the solution by replacing their lawn with pollinator habitat,” said Emily Shipman, executive director of Burlington’s KidsGardening, one of the founding members of the national Million Pollinator Garden Challenge. “We’ve seen the impact of teaching kids about pollinators through our lesson plans and we’re hoping to provide our pollinator lesson package to schools throughout Vermont.”
“This is a great opportunity to take a small action that makes a big difference, and it can be as simple as leaving an area unmowed or putting in a few special plants,” said Jess Hyman, executive director of the Vermont Community Garden Network. “Many community, school and workplace gardens have beneficial insect areas and we’d like to encourage more people to get involved.”
The initiative is encouraging those who have already created pollinator habitat to sign on to the Wild for Pollinators registry at wildforpollinators.org, and put up a Wild for Pollinators sign in front of the site.Regardless of size, all pollinator plantings can make a difference. All that is required for participation is to leave an area wild, create a container bed with plants that benefit pollinators or design a landscape that will benefit pollinators in an area equal to or larger than 5 by 15 feet. You must also pledge not to use pesticides, fungicides or herbicides.