There is a lot of emphases these days on gardening organically to protect our soil and important pollinators. Many people are jumping on the bandwagon, and towns and cities across North America are backing gardeners making eco-friendly choices.
The community I live in has received the David Suzuki Foundation’s “Monarch-Friendly City” certification, which recognizes the municipality’s commitment to preserving the monarch butterfly’s habitat.
To date, more than 435 communities across Canada and the United States have committed to helping save the monarch. They become certified after implementing at least three of the David Suzuki Foundation’s 24 monarch habitat protection measures.
For example, one of the community events I attended this summer handed out a collection of free milkweed plants to people to put on their properties.
Similar initiatives are popping up across North America.
The city of Toronto has implemented an annual “PollinateTo” grant worth $5,000. The 36 recipients of this year’s award are spending the money on native plants to attract bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects to their yards come the spring.
The hope is to establish a pollinator corridor with plants that bloom at different times to help the declining insect populations.
In Minnesota, gardeners looking to transform a part of their properties into an oasis for the rusty patched bumblebee can apply for similar grants.
The Lawns to Legumes program is a three-year pilot project that will give $350 to homeowners who plant pollinator-friendly gardens.
People living in both rural and urban areas are encouraged to do the work and apply for reimbursement.
Many cities are also choosing to become a Bee City USA. Responsibilities include educating the public about the dangers pollinators face, providing non-GMO native plant lists and where they can be bought locally, and integrating chemical-free native plants in public spaces.
Around the world, pollinator populations are declining at rapid rates. Exposure to parasites and pesticides, habitat destruction, as well as a loss of floral diversity are all believed to be driving forces behind the crisis.
They need our help! Before you get started on doing your part, check with your city or municipality to see if there are programs in place to guide you along the way, or even help you out financially!