Last night I hopped in my truck and headed 5 hours north to attend the Xerces Society’s Pollinator Short Course, based on Attracting Native Pollinators by the Xerces Society.

I’m so excited that the Short Course has finally been offered in a location that the distance to attend was (for the most part) manageable.

I was thinking as I drove along Route 95 North what an incredible difference we could make for pollinators just by better managing our country’s highway roadsides and medial strips. Instead of mile upon mile of mown grass, what if we planted these areas with more native pollinator plants?

Our native pollinators are in deep trouble, and mostly because of our actions. We’ve destroyed their habitat and nesting sites. We continue to spray toxic, poisonous, chemicals that are killing our butterflies and native bees (and may be poisoning us too). We continue to cut down native habitats so we can build yet another Walmart or Starbucks, and create acre after acre of parking lots in our constant quest for more development.

Here are some general ways to help native pollinators:

Provide habitats: Encourage the growth of native flowering plants, shrubs, and trees that provide food and shelter for pollinators.

Limit pesticide use: Reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides and herbicides, which can harm pollinators.

Create nesting sites: Provide nesting sites for pollinators such as hollow stems, rock piles, and unmanaged areas of your yard.

Avoid monoculture: Avoid planting large areas with just one type of flower or crop, as this limits the diversity of food sources for pollinators.

Support conservation efforts: Support local, regional, and national efforts to conserve and protect pollinators and their habitats.

Plant a pollinator garden: Plant a variety of flowers, herbs, and shrubs that will bloom at different times to provide a constant source of food for pollinators.

Provide water: Offer a shallow dish of water with pebbles or marbles to serve as landing spots for pollinators.

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