Why did we install a pollinator garden?
As an organization that works to protect vital habitats throughout Whatcom County, it was evident that we also think about the habitat existing right outside our office! Habitat loss, specifically of nesting and pollinating sites, is one of the main threats facing pollinators throughout the country. It was an easy decision to tear out our superficial sod grass and replace it with a fully functioning ecological habitat native to our Pacific Northwest! Project Landworks completed the site design and we were able to partner with Vamos Outdoors Project for the planting; we used this as an educational opportunity for us and their students and we are incredibly grateful for our community’s support!
What are the main threats to pollinators?
Habitat Loss – the development of urban and suburban spaces has drastically decreased the amount of habitat available to pollinator species. According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife, as native vegetation is replaced by roadways, manicured lawns, crops, and non-native gardens, pollinators lose the food and nesting sites that are necessary for their survival. One of the largest factors of this loss is the removal of native pollinator plants for the placement of ornamental sod grass.
Pesticide Use – according to Xerces Society only a very small number of invertebrates are “pests.” The vast majority of invertebrates are essential to the ecology of a healthy environment. Pesticides kill all invertebrates they come into contact with and are a major threat to pollinator populations.
Pollinators are vital to our food source!
According to Xerces Society, more than two-thirds of the world’s crop species rely on pollinators for their reproduction.
What pollinator species are in Whatcom County?
Bumblebees, Honeybees, Moths, Hummingbirds, Mason Bees, Sweat Bees, Beetles, Carpenter Bees, Flies, Sand Mining Bees, Butterflies, Long-horned Bees, Digger Bees, and Green Bees.
More on this from Xerces Society HERE.
What can you do to help?
The best way to help increase pollinator populations is to restore and protect their habitat! You can do this by planting a pollinator garden of your own. A pollinator garden can range from an entire backyard full of native, pollinator-friendly species to a small planter box full of pollinator plants! Keep in mind that pollinator habitat also includes undisturbed areas for nest sites with brush piles or rocks to provide space for pollinators to hibernate during the winter. Another way in which you can protect our pollinators is to avoid using pesticides whenever possible.
HERE is a plant list from Xerces Society to help get you started on your own pollinator garden (big or small!)
The Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board has seed packets available for folks to easily plant a variety of native pollinator species – you can get your Bee-U-Tify packet HERE!
For more information on pesticide alternatives, you can visit the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides HERE and/or learn more through Xerces Society HERE.
To learn more about the benefits and ease of converting grass lawns to native wildflowers visit Lawn to Wildflowers HERE.
This is the list of plants that we used for our pollinator garden. We incorporated two plants that are non-native, non-invasive. Although these plants are not native, they won’t harm our environment and they provide many important benefits to pollinators! Click the image above to view a larger version!