Berkshire County Pollinator and Native Plant Initiative
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Conservation District received grant funding to address the decline of native pollinators and their host plants across all landscapes.
The funding comes from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Commission for Conservation of Soil, Water and Related Resources and Berkshire Agricultural Ventures. The funds will help the district continue its commitment to conservation and sustainability in the community.
This funding will enable the district to launch a new program to support habitats, including pollinator plantings and to increase the number of Berkshire communities adopting Pollinator-Friendly Community resolutions, while educating the greater community about the importance of healthy soils and native plants, especially those that benefit pollinator species.
The district will also establish a pollinator garden in an environmental and social justice community.
This program builds on the Hinsdale pollinator garden project, a pilot program that promoted small-scale pollinator gardens in the town of Hinsdale which approved a resolution to become a Pollinator-Friendly Community at the May 2019 town meeting.
With the increasing loss of habitat, use of pesticides and introduction of non-native species of plants, pollinators are in decline in the US. Pollinators provide a vital ecosystem service by transferring pollen between plants to facilitate reproduction, making them responsible for 1/3 of the bites of food eaten by humans each day.
“Gardening for pollinators creates links between humans and nature while fostering environmental stewardship," said the Districts' Board of Supervisor Chair Adam Galambos. “Stresses on pollinators exacerbated by climate change is disrupting biological systems including the pollinator-flower relationship which poses challenges for all pollinators. By planting a variety of native pesticide-free pollinator gardens, we can help to support pollinators in our communities."
The District will begin planning over the winter to include on-line webinars led by knowledgeable pollinator and native plant specialists. We will be working with communities that want to pursue Pollinator-Friendly status, and planning a community event that will feature an opportunity to purchase native plants that attract and benefit pollinators, as well as include educational offerings from other non-profit environmental organizations.
The District welcomes volunteers interested in getting involved in these projects. For more information and to be part of this exciting program, contact the District at firstname.lastname@example.org