From small scale backyard gardens to large scale highway rights-of-way landscaping

Small scale…

With pollinators, every little garden helps! Small community gardens or backyard gardens help provide local pollinators with the critical floral resources they require and serve as important stopover habitat for migratory pollinators like the monarch butterfly.

Large scale…

The following are just examples of landscaping that is taking place around Pennsylvania for imperiled pollinator populations, as well as possible landscaping that can be done on a larger scale.

  • The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PENN-DOT) has created a Pollinator Habitat Plan for how to manage their highway rights-of-way (ROW) to support Pennsylvania's native pollinators. ROWs refer to the long, narrow strips of land that run adjacent to roads and railroads, or underneath powerlines. The plan includes explicit goals of planting wildflowers using integrated vegetation management, minimizing pollinator-vehicle conflicts through careful site selection, conducting research on the effectiveness ROW plantings for pollinators with Penn State students and faculty, and partnering with local community organizations to establish long-lasting sites through the Adopt & Beautify Program.
  • The creation and management of a pollinator meadow on solar farms is a new way to combine sustainable energy practices with pollinator conservation. A recent project at Penn State included the implementation of a pollinator meadow under the Orchard Road solar array, led by Dr. Harland Patch and contracted by Ernst Conservation Seeds and Meadville Land Service.
  • Agricultural lands can also be managed to provide pollinator habitat, for example, within or adjacent to crop fields and timber harvestlands. By planting wildflowers adjacent to crop fields, we can benefit not only the pollinators, but also improve crop production by providing habitat for natural predators that eat agricultural insect pests (Read more: Planting wildflowers near crop fields benefits bees). Fallow fields and logging roads can additionally provide wonderful sources of pollinator habitats, because they provide provide lots of sunlight for flowers to bloom and contain a diversity of substrates that different pollinator species may require to thrive. Partnering with local ecological restoration companies, like the Ernst Pollinator Service, can help increase the efficiency of landscapes designed for wild pollinators, as well as other beneficial insects.