July 18, 2020
The Power of Pollinators
By Nicole Wood
Madison Environmental Commission Member
One out of three bites of our food depends on pollinators.

These include bees and butterflies plus birds, beetles, wasps and even small mammals such as bats — who move pollen within flowers and from bloom to bloom.

Pollination is the first step in a process that produces seeds, fruits, and the next generation of plants.

Our Pollinators Are Under Attack

  • Use of toxic pesticides — including insecticides and herbicides — on residential lawns, golf courses and agricultural crops. Chemicals intended to kill "pests" such as mosquitoes and weeds also kill beneficial insects including bees, as well as wild-blooming flowers and groundcover like clover that bees rely on for food.

  • Habitat continues to be lost from construction development and land use changes.

P hoto above from Pollinator Partnership
You Can Help: NJ Seeks to Protect Our Pollinators
On March 5, the New Jersey Senate passed S1016, voting 32 to 7 with substantial bipartisan support. The bill, which will move to the Assembly for voting ( A2070), seeks to ban use of neonicotinoid pesticides ("neonics") on lawns, golf courses and other non-agricultural settings in New Jersey. Its passage would give our state's pollinators and ecosystems one of the strongest protections in the nation against neonics, according to the National Resources Defense Council. Learn more here, and let your Assembly members know you support A2070.

Take Action in Your Own Yard!

Support pollinators by creating a rich and diversified habitat in your yard! Grow pesticide-free organic edibles as well as native wildflowers, trees and shrubs to provide forage for bees and attract other pollinators.
Visit Pollinator Gardens in Madison
Joan Maccari of the Madison Environmental Commission recommends studying the plantings at Drew University's Zuck Arboretum. Check out this trail guide as well as some photos.

The Madison Community Garden (shown below), located within the Madison Recreational Complex (MRC) has three plots dedicated solely to growing flowers for pollinators, and offers a plant list plus growing tips. Additionally, the Community Garden has an onsite apiary whose bees pollinate the garden!
The MRC also has examples of rain gardens, and more pollinator plants along the side of the parking lot). Also, across from the MRC is an excellent example of a natural wildflower meadow (shown below). Stop by and take a look!
Locally, you can also visit the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge trails to observe wildflowers.
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