Over the past 30 years, the world’s pollinators—birds, bats, bees, butterflies, beetles and small mammals—have been declining at a disturbing rate. Considering that our food crops rely on pollination, human’s existence is tied to that of the pollinators, making their decline as important to us as it is to them.
According to the USDA, “Our nation’s pollinator populations have suffered serious losses due to invasive pests and diseases, such as mites and viral and fungal pathogens, exposure to pesticides and other chemicals, loss of habitat, loss of species and genetic diversity and changing climate.” Many species of pollinators are now extremely rare or nearly extinct. Albert Einstein once said that “If bees disappear, humans would have four years to live.”
To combat this life-threatening problem, Seattle artist Sarah Bergman began what she called a “pollinator pathway,” a one-mile-long, 12-foot-wide corridor of pollinator-friendly native gardens to sustain pollinators. The idea has spread, with way stations running from Maryland to Vermont, from Oregon to Ontario. Think of the Mass Pike with its rest stops, but with insects and birds instead of cars, and native plants instead of McDonald’s. Areas along roads, bike paths, in private yards and public parks, and on church and business properties have been transformed from grass lawns into native wildflower gardens, each creating a link along the pollinators’ migratory chain.
In Granby, a project is underway to transform a town-owned fallow field into a major link along this chain. Now named the Granby Wildflower Meadow, the five-acre parcel, located along Rte. 10/202 just south of the town center, is slated to be over-seeded with native flowering plants late this fall. Next spring, plant plugs will be placed in the meadow to augment the seeds. The Friends of Granby Wildflower Meadow will soon be a non-profit organization tasked with raising money for seeds and plants and maintaining the meadow. Anyone is welcome to join, and donations are greatly appreciated. Please go to granbywildflowers.org for more information, to join FOGWM, and to donate.
You, whether a private citizen, corporation, school, or town can also help our beleaguered bees and butterflies in several ways:
Plant native flowering trees; shrubs and flowers; provide a water source; leave dead wood and bare patches of soil for nesting bees; mulch and not bag your clippings; using them as natural fertilizer; leave the leaves in your gardens until spring for overwintering insects; mow less often; use organic fertilizers; use alternatives to pesticides; don’t be too quick to eradicate nesting bees. Ask a local beekeeper for help first.
For more information, please go to pollinator-pathway.org