Americans concerned about saving bees, butterflies and other pollinators and their roles in our ecosystems are being asked to #beecounted and help the National Pollinator Garden Network reach one million bee-friendly gardens by National Pollinator Week, June 18-24, 2018.
Pollinators are experiencing dramatic declines. Monarch Butterfly populations have declined by 90% in the eastern and western United States (Shultz et. al, 2017). The Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee was listed as an Endangered Species last year (USFWS, 2017). Honeybees are experiencing continued significant colony losses (The White House, 2014). These losses and others threaten pollination of agricultural crops and natural ecosystems, and the important services provided by pollinators and their habitat.
Americans are rising to the challenge. Since 2015, over 700,000 pollinator gardens have been designed, planted and registered across the United States as part of the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge. (MJV is a partner of the National Pollinator Garden Network, so remember that if your habitat is registered through our Monarch Conservation Efforts Map, we've added your contribution to the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge already!)
“One thing is clear, Americans love pollinators and their efforts are paying off. Research in recent articles, such as the Journal of Applied Ecology, have shown that even small gardens can make a difference for pollinators by increasing diversity of bee species across urban and suburban landscapes.” says Mary Phillips, senior director at the National Wildlife Federation, one of the founders of the network.
By creating, planting and maintaining garden, and registering it on the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge map, Americans can contribute to revitalizing the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators across the U.S. And there are many different ways that everyone can contribute to saving pollinators: by creating habitat, spreading the word, and contributing to citizen science.
“Anyone can plant for pollinators and join this effort to reach one million,” explains Phillips. “Every habitat of every size counts, from window boxes and garden plots to farm borders, golf courses, school gardens and more. Anticipation is growing across the National Pollinator Garden Network’s 50 conservation, garden trade, voluntary civic and federal partners, as we rally to get the remaining gardens to be registered.”
These bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, bats and other pollinators fertilize one-third of food crops while flying from plant to plant. They “play a critical role in food security,” says Val Dolcini, president of the Pollinator Partnership, one of the network’s founding organizations.
To help pollinator numbers increase, the National Pollinator Garden Network launched the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge to inspire people and organizations to create more pollinator habitats. The network provides plant lists, hand-outs, lesson plans, training guides and many other resources to help people spread the word, grow beautiful gardens and drive conservation efforts.
“Leaders in the garden trade and horticulture sector have stepped up to meet consumer demand for pollinator friendly plant material and educate its professionals on sustainable methods that support habitat” says Craig Regelbrugge, AmericanHort another co-founding org.
“The 700,000 registered gardens show a pollinator movement is underway,” explains Phillips. “I know there are many out there that simply need to be registered, and many empty plots of land awaiting planting.”
The National Pollinator Garden Network calls on the community of concerned Americans to do their part and create healthy, lasting habitats for wildlife like pollinators.
Contact: Anna Vecchio, National Wildlife Federation, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 797-6662
This article is a modified Million Pollinator Garden Challenge press release. The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge has been launched by The National Pollinator Garden Network, A partnership between conservation organizations, gardening groups, volunteer civic associations and participating federal agencies to inspire people and organizations to create more pollinator habitats.
The Monarch Joint Venture is a national partnership of federal and state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academic programs working together to conserve the monarch butterfly migration. The content in this article does not necessarily reflect the positions of all Monarch Joint Venture partners. Header photo by Wendy Caldwell.