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Fantastic news for bees and butterflies! The National Pollinator Garden Network has surpassed their goal of 1 million registered pollinator gardens.
More than 1,040,000 gardens have been registered with the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, an ambitious project that now involves several countries around the world.
Most of the registered pollinator gardens are concentrated in the United States, with some in Canada, Mexico, and Europe. The million-plus gardens are comprised of private yards as well as public landscapes, and together they have created approximately five million acres of precious habitat for the world’s pollinators.
This mighty initiative was launched back in 2015 by the National Pollinator Garden Network, with the main goal to help save bees and butterflies, which are responsible for much of the food that we eat.
The project partnered with the National Wildlife Federation, and according to NWF's CEO Collin O’Mara, it is crucial to the health of our ecosystems:
“Planting a million pollinator gardens was an audacious goal,” said Collin. “Certified habitats transform lawns and paved areas into native plant buffets, create tree canopy that reduces carbon, provide host plants for beneficial insects and butterflies, and advance sustainable practice that reduce reliance on chemicals.”
Invertebrate pollinator species such as bees and butterflies are essential to our environment, but many of them are at risk of extinction.
This pollinator conservation effort offers a way for everyday people to help restore and enhance pollinator habitat. Now, everyone can help preserve and create gardens and landscapes that help revive the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats, and other pollinators.
The U.S. metro areas with the highest number of registered gardens include Atlanta, Chicago, Miami-Ft.Lauderdale, Philadelphia-Camden, D.C, and New York City.
Areas with high percentages of local registered gardens are referred to as “Pollinator Gardening Hot Spots," which include Santa Fe, New Mexico, Prescott, Flagstaff, and the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona metro area. The Smoky Mountain region, which includes North Carolina and Tennessee, also has thousands of registered pollinator gardens.
There are also several areas in mid-America in states like Missouri and Nebraska that help support high bee density and diversity. Research indicates that the impact of these small-scale pollinator gardens has added significant support to pollinator abundance and diversity.
The result of this challenge is a nationwide network of pollinator habitat within America’s cities, towns, and neighborhoods. The project has even registered over 20,000 schoolyards throughout the U.S. as pollinator habitats.
“Our collective efforts have accomplished great things for bees, butterflies, and other pollinator species,” said Kelly Rourke, Director of Programs and Operations at the Pollinator Partnership, another partner in the project.
“Pollinators play a critical role in supporting healthy food systems and overall ecosystem functions. Without them, our dinner plates and the natural world would be far less diverse.”
The news of over one million pollinator gardens indicates a welcome shift in consumer awareness, with people becoming more understanding of the importance of bees and butterflies to the health of our environment. Since the campaign launched, gardening centers, both local and national chains, are offering more pollinator-friendly plants and services.
Education plays an important part in the public’s awareness, and schools all across the United States are joining this ambitious movement. Elementary schools, high schools, and colleges and universities have transformed their campuses into pollinator habitats.
Everyone can help to build on the momentum of this wonderful pollinator challenge. If you have a yard or garden, or even just a tiny piece of property, you can contribute. The easiest thing to do is to plant at least three different pollinator-friendly plants that bloom in three different seasons (spring, summer, and fall) to help ensure a consistent food supply for pollinators.
Together, we can expand pollinators' garden habitats and make sure they continue to grow by leaps and bounds. You can find more information and resources on the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge website.
The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge was launched by The National Pollinator Garden Network. It is a partnership between conservation organizations, gardening groups, volunteer civic associations, and participating federal agencies to inspire people to create more pollinator habitats. Partner organizations of the project include National Wildlife Federation, Xerces Society, Pollinator Partnership, Monarch Watch, Monarch Joint Venture, and Bee City USA.Learn More
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