WANTED: Sign Designs

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Got a way with words and pictures? Care about the health of Granby’s birds and bees? Submit a Pro-Pollinator Sign Design.

Granby’s Conservation Commission is launching a contest to design signs homeowners can use to explain how their yards provide nourishment for the creatures that pollinate our crops and support our wildlife. The contest is open to all Granby residents.

In May 2022, the Conservation Commission and Granby Public Library hosted a community conversation about No Mow May, which some communities have adopted in order to support pollinators for a few crucial spring weeks. Residents who have converted portions of their lawns to wildflower meadows reported that it would be helpful to have signs that explain to neighbors and passersby why a lawn that may appear to be unkempt is actually an intentional effort to provide food for beneficial pollinators. After reviewing signs from other communities, the commission decided to hold a public competition for a sign that enhances public understanding and resonates with Granby residents.

Contest specifics

Contest entries should:

• use a minimal number of words to explain how the property supports pollinator health;

• include “Granby Conservation Commission;”

• provide for links to more information;

• be legible from the roadway;

• fit a sign approximately 200 square inches (such as 12×16 or 12×18);

• be emailed by Jan. 15, 2023, to the commission chair at GranbyDavidRoberts@gmail.com with entrants’ name, address, and contact information.

The winning entry will be selected by the commission in February and will earn a $50 gift card, a packet of wildflower seeds from Granby’s Wildflower Meadow, and recognition in the Granby Drummer. The commission expects to produce at least 100 signs and distribute them at a nominal cost.

Why Support Pollinators?

A third of food crops, and the vast majority of flowering plants, depend on pollinators to transfer pollen from the male to female parts of the flower, enabling procreation. This essential task is performed mainly by insects such as bees, flies, wasps, beetles, butterflies and moths. Some pollinators and plants have co-evolved to be uniquely suited to each other: without one, the other does not survive. Pollinators are food, in turn, for animals such as birds and bears that enrich our landscapes and our lives.

We humans make it harder for pollinators to work their magic: we convert diverse forests to lawn monocultures, we spread pesticides that bludgeon broad insect populations, we heat up the world and drive species to extinction, and we import invasive plants that displace the natives that pollinators need and invasive diseases that decimate their numbers. A quarter of North American bumble bees are now at risk of extinction, a fifth of butterflies and moths.

But with a little effort, we can compensate for the harm we cause. Pollinator Pathways, now established in more than half of Connecticut towns, intentionally plant food supplies for pollinators. Granby’s 5-acre Wildflower Meadow is one of the newest town Pathways and will serve as a significant food hub for a wide array of pollinators.

Granby homeowners and gardeners can make colossal contributions to pollinator health by replacing exotic lawn grasses with native plants, trees, wildflowers, and grasses. That’s the idea behind the HomegrownNationalPark movement started by Dr. Doug Tallamy and it’s doable for everyone. Just 10 percent of Granby’s homeowners replacing just 10 percent of their lawns with pollinator-friendly plantings—10 acres—would triple the impact of the Granby’s Wildflower Meadow.

Informative, inspiring signs could lead to much more. So put on your thinking cap, get your creative juices going and send your best!

David Desiderato is a member of the Granby Conservation Commission