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Supporting Pollinators

Sam Droege, United States Geological Survey

Public gardens occupy a critical place in the discussion surrounding pollinator health. They perform research related to plant conservation and pollinator protection, join forces with other public or private institutions to promote awareness of the issue, and educate millions of their own visitors on plant conservation and pollinator protection. This all occurs against a backdrop of intentionally designed and managed spaces where the best tools are needed to achieve the highest aesthetic value.

The American Public Gardens Association is a founding member of the National Pollinator Garden Network (NPGN), an unprecedented collaboration of national, regional, and local gardening clubs. The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge (MPGC) is a nationwide call to action to preserve and create gardens and landscapes that help revive the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators across America.


Pollinator Stories from Our Members:

  • At Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, we use many avenues to not only protect and promote native pollinators, but also educate the public about them. Our children’s Discovery Garden is arranged into gardens of pollinator-specific plants, divided into bee, butterfly, and bird gardens. The Discovery Garden, along with three other locations at Phipps, are also certified through Penn State Extension as pollinator-friendly gardens, recognizing the food, host plants, and habitat provided in these spaces for native pollinators. European honey bees kept on site are an easy and accessible introduction to discussing pollinators in general. Finally, offering adult education courses on native pollinators and landscape habitat creation (e.g., “Backyard Entomology,” “Protecting and Promoting Pollinators,” and “Building a Better Bug Hotel”) and our demonstration insect hotel inform the public on pollinator diversity, protection, and appreciation.
  • As part of our efforts in pollinator conservation, we are working to gain a more complete understanding of the biological diversity supported by Lauritzen Gardens so we can practice the best possible ecological stewardship.  To this end, we have ongoing surveys to document the butterfly and bee species that utilize the 100-acre property.  These surveys involve staff, volunteers, high school students, and university faculty and graduate students.  Our butterfly list stands at 57 species, which is rather surprising given the urban context of Lauritizen Gardens.  We are in the second year of a native bee survey that is being conducted by a team of entomologists from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  The team identified 51 different species at Lauritzen Gardens last year and is currently working to identify specimens collected in 2018.  Both of these surveys are providing insights that will inform management of the garden for the benefit and conservation of pollinators.

Find Pollinator Resources including Education Resource Collections, Print on Demand Sign materials, plant lists and more

More resources may be found in our Library/Media Center.