Promoting Pollinators and Native Plants
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Pollinators are critical for fruitful gardens, productive farms, and healthy ecosystems, but pollinator populations are in decline in many areas because of habitat loss. One of the most effective ways we can support pollinators is to provide habitat by planting the species they need to survive across our communities. Native plants are particularly important for native pollinators and wildlife.
Across North Carolina, volunteers with the Extension Master Gardener℠ program educate the public about the connection between pollinators, gardens, native plants and wildlife. Here are a few examples of how Master Gardener℠ volunteers encouraged residents to plant pollinator and wildlife friendly species in 2021.
Master Gardener volunteers partnered with the Southern Pines Public Library to install the “Books and Bees Garden” that provides habitat for native bees and beneficial insects. To extend the garden’s educational value, Master Gardener volunteers developed an interactive map and brochure to share information about the plants used in the garden, as well as general information about the positive impact of pollinators and beneficial insects.
Master Gardener volunteers designed and installed plantings to complement a natural playground at a daycare center managed by Western Carolina Community Action. Low-maintenance, native plants were chosen to serve as teaching tools and to complement play elements made of wood, rock and other natural materials.
A partnership between Master Gardener volunteers and the Montgomery County Beekeepers Association provided the community with a fantastic place to learn about both native plants and pollinators. Master Gardener volunteers renovated a large pollinator garden adjacent to a local art gallery and added signage that identifies each plant in the garden by family, genus, species, common name, and Latin pronunciation.
At the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Sampson County center, Master Gardener volunteers created a pollinator demonstration garden to illustrate how homeowners, municipalities, businesses, and farmers can plant and maintain pollinator gardens in their landscapes. Four additional gardens are under development through the community.
Practicing what they preach, Master Gardener volunteers challenged one another to add native plants to their personal gardens. The “Nature’s Best Hope Garden Challenge” asked Master Gardener volunteers to draw up a plan, list what plants they used, and take pictures of their progress. They also encouraged one another to share the challenge with a neighbor.
Read the 2021 Annual Report to explore more examples of how volunteers with the Extension Master Gardener℠ program share their knowledge to help North Carolinians learn and grow.
Planting for Pollinators & Wildlife
Explore these NC State Extension resources to learn how to make your property more pollinator and wildlife friendly:
- Wildlife Friendly Landscapes
- Landscaping for Wildlife with Native Plants,
- Managing Backyards and Other Urban Habitats for Birds,
- Butterflies in Your Backyard,
- Reptiles and Amphibians in Your Backyard.
- Planning a Wildlife Habitat
- Native Plants Chapter in the Extension Gardener Handbook
- Plants to Attract Wildlife – In the left column “Landscape” section, click on “Attracts” then choose the species you wish to create habitat for
- Bees of North Carolina: An Identification Guide