What’s the buzz?

Pollinator festival, plant sale returns June 1

Hannah Grall, AdkAction project manager, waters some blue moon woodland phlox at the Uihlein Farm greenhouse on Wednesday, May 22. (News photo — Sydney Emerson)

LAKE PLACID — The Adirondack Pollinator Festival and Native Plant Sale will return this year on June 1 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Uihlein Farm on Bear Cub Lane. It’s the festival’s second year and the plant sale’s seventh, and all proceeds benefit AdkAction’s Adirondack Pollinator Project.

“It’s growing more and more every year,” said Hannah Grall, project manager at AdkAction, based in Keeseville. “Especially since last year, the sale is really growing. People are hearing about it and they’re excited about the other opportunities that they can attend while at the festival and sale.”

This year’s festival is set for the same weekend as the Great Adirondack Birding Celebration at the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center and will be preceded at 7:30 a.m. by a grassland ecology and bird walk at Heaven Hill Farm on Bear Cub Lake in Lake Placid.

“(The walk) will kick off the day, and I think that’ll draw in some of the birders,” Grall said.

Also new this year are a handful of native plant species: eastern red columbine, golden alexanders, culver’s root, oxeye sunflowers and mouse-ear chickweed.

Hannah Grall, AdkAction project manager, poses with a blue moon woodland phlox, a native pollinator-friendly plant, at the Uihlein Farm greenhouse in Lake Placid on Wednesday, May 22. (News photo — Sydney Emerson)

“We have a lot of different varieties of native plants this year than we have in years past,” Grall said. “Every year we try to switch up the different species of plants we offer, so folks who have shopped our sale multiple years in a row have new plants to add to their gardens.”

Grall said that the sale got really busy last year, and though AdkAction hopes to maintain a plant inventory that’ll last throughout the six-hour sale, it’s good to preorder plants online ahead of time.

“The majority of the folks coming to the plant sale have already preordered so they just come in and pick up their plant order,” she said.

There will be a variety of free family-friendly events at the sale and festival, too: face painting, crafts, a compost sale and some environmental talks. Two walks in the afternoon — a native pollinator and restoration ecology walk with experts from the Adirondack Land Trust and Northern New York Audubon Society as well as a native trees walk with an expert from the New York Flora Association — require attendees to sign up ahead of time to gauge the walks’ capacities. To sign up, visit tinyurl.com/ymkmh7vr.

Native plants contain the best nutrition for pollinators, Grall said, and are the first step in the cycle that helps the environment and humanity thrive.

This year's Adirondack Pollinator Festival and Native Plant Sale is set for June 1 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (News photo — Sydney Emerson)

“It’s really important to provide that fuel and these corridors of native landscapes so that pollinators, when they’re traveling across regions, have these different waypoints where they can stop and get the nutrients and fuel they need to survive,” she said. “One fun stat is that pollinators are responsible for one out of every three bites of food you eat. So, it’s really important that our pollinator populations are healthy, especially in our areas where there’s farmland.”

Native plants also have the added benefit of being easy to maintain — perfect for the beginner gardener, according to Grall.

“They’re really hardy perennial plants, so all you really need to do is pop them in the ground (and) make sure that they’re watered sufficiently for the first couple of weeks if we’re not getting consistent rain. But then after that, they’re pretty much good to go and you’ll see them come back every year and bloom every year and you really don’t have to do much to them, which is great.”

For a full schedule of festival events and to preorder native plants, visit adkaction.org/plantsale.

In 2011, AdkAction beganworking to increase awareness and habitats for monarch butterflies in the Adirondack Park. They designed and distributed milkweed seeds and informational brochures and sponsored lectures and film showings.

“There are many threats to pollinators, including habitat loss and fragmentation, pesticide use, climate change, and disease,” states the ADKAction website.

AdkAction launched the Adirondack Pollinator Project in 2016 in oartnership with The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, Paul Smith’s College and Northern New York Audubon to expand its monarch butterfly education programming to include all pollinators.

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