Did you know that one out of every three bites of food we eat exists because of pollinators?
Potomac Valley Audubon Society’s Protected Pollinator Patch program aims to work with landowners to designate meadows that provide valuable flora for the protection and conservation of our native pollinator species including bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths, beetles and flies.
The plight of native pollinators:
90% of flowering plants, and one third of human food crops, require pollinators for reproduction. The reproduction of these plants is vital to sustaining human life and biodiversity. The work done by pollinators impacts everyone in some way, from the crops we eat and clothes we wear, to the landscapes we enjoy. Native pollinators (bees, butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, birds, and bats), are threatened by habitat loss, disease and overuse of pesticides. Climate change is also negatively impacting pollinators, as some pollinators are no longer emerging on the same schedule as their main food sources.
There are many ways for landowners to help facilitate pollinator populations in their area, and help reverse some of the damage caused by human activity.
How you can help pollinators:
- Enroll your property into the Protected Pollinator Patch program with PVAS and display your “Protected Pollinator Patch” sign for others to see.
- Avoid using pesticides.
- Practice reduced mowing; rotational mowing, late season mowing, or only mowing every four to five years to maintain a functional meadow ecosystem on lands that are not in production and to keep woody species from encroaching.
- Plant and establish native, warm-season grasses and wildflowers that are more beneficial to pollinators.
- Cooperate within the community to preserve and protect other meadows for pollinators, using your project as a model for others.
Benefits of designating a pollinator patch:
- Increased livelihood and reproductive success of native pollinator species.
- Possible return of species that have disappeared from our area.
- Establishment of a functional meadow habitat that benefits a host of native plant and animal species (even more than just pollinators!).
- Reduced fuel usage and reduced wear and tear on equipment from regular mowing.
- Reduced negative impacts from over-use of the soil and increase fertility of the land.
- Help to ensure that future generations can experience and appreciate the wonderful creatures that make meadows their home!
How to enroll your property in the Protected Pollinator Patch program:
If you have at least 1/2 acre of open, unmowed meadow on your property that you would like to steward for pollinators, contact Land and Conservation Manager, KC Walters, at firstname.lastname@example.org, to set up a time and date for an initial property assessment. During the assessment, a certified Master Naturalist will walk with you around your property and evaluate the habitat. You will then receive a hard copy of the assessment including land management recommendations. If your property meets the criteria of a Protected Pollinator Patch, you will then be invited to enroll in the program. You will then receive your Protected Pollinator Patch sign to proudly display on your property!