Bee the Change

by Kent Petterson

Some gardeners and non-gardeners have heard a buzz surrounding the topic of what they can do to enhance the habitat for insects and in particular pollinating insects. You too can join in understanding the vital role that these insects have in their natural role of food-seeking of nectar and pollen. This pollinating activity provides what has been termed “pollination services” for flowers, vegetables and trees. Pollination also occurs through wind for all grass plants, which include corn, wheat, barley etc. Some small mammals such as bats also do pollination services, but that is another story. This insect pollination role is crucial to a large segment of the food supply of humans and many animals.

A new program announced in December is worth checking out. Lawns to Legumes: Your Yard Can Bee the Changeoffers a combination of workshops, planting guides and cost sharing funds for “installing pollinator–friendly native plantings in residential lawns.” The program launched by the Board of Water And Soil Resources with funds from the Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund is available for grant application from now until February 28, 2020, for home owners.

Grants will be focused on demonstration projects, education and plot development on your home property. Full details and specific deadlines are available on line from BlueThumb.org and MetroBlooms.org.They will be leading this public education campaign to raise awareness for new pollinator habitat projects. Neighborhood demonstrations of best practices and plants are being sought.

Our location on the edge of the Mississippi River Valley has a host of possibilities for enhancing the natural in your home garden. May I suggest the 2020 West End Neighbors Garden Tour would be a wonderful venue for you to show off your work to “Bee the Change”?

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