Many gardeners are familiar with the plight of native butterflies, bees and birds. Pesticides, habitat loss and climate change have dramatically decreased wildlife populations worldwide. Often gardeners feel like there's little we can do to help these creatures. But garden enthusiasts in Connecticut have a plan and you can help!
One of the main reasons for these population declines is fragmented habitats. Bees, for example, have a foraging range of only ½ mile. Having large areas is critical for their survival. So connecting habitats is important. Sarah Bregman started a program in Washington called Pollinator Pathway, encouraging all residents to plant native flowers, shrubs, and trees to help pollinating insects, birds and wildlife.
Native plants provide the best food for insects and birds in the forms of pollen, seeds, caterpillars and berries. This program has spread to Connecticut starting in Fairfield County and spreading around Connecticut and New York. Garden clubs, Master Gardener groups, land trusts, private companies, and local residents have banded together to plant native plants on public lands and encourage private land owners to do the same.
By connecting public and private lands with native plants, we cross town, county and state lines providing large enough habitats to benefit birds and bees. This is particularly critical for migrating birds looking for food in spring and fall. Public demonstration gardens have popped up around the state showing the types of natives to plant. You can even put up small metal sign saying your property is part of the pollinator pathway.
To get involved and find out more about this program go to pollinatorpathway.org.