Help the pollinators by planting a garden

Flowers at the Paul Smith's College VIC Native Species Butterfly House (News photo — Lauren Yates)

Adirondack residents have the power to help monarch butterflies and other pollinators as they continue to struggle to survive in this overdeveloped world of ours.

In 2011, AdkAction, based in Keeseville, began teaching the public about how to help monarch butterflies — by designing and distributing milkweed seeds and informational brochures and sponsoring lectures and film screenings. Five years later, the organization created the Adirondack Pollinator Project, expanding its monarch program to include all pollinators.

Now — with the help of Paul Smith’s College and The Wild Center in Tupper Lake — AdkAction is empowering the public to take action, tackling the many threats to pollinators head-on, including habitat loss and fragmentation, pesticide use, climate change and disease.

AdkAction offers free native wildflower seed packets to people living within the Adirondack Park and holds an annual native plant sale; the goal is to increase the habitat of native pollinators in the region. Planting native wildflower seeds in the spring, AdkAction says, is a family-friendly activity.

“A pollinator garden is one planted mostly with flowers that provide nectar or pollen for a broad range of pollinating insects,” AdkAction states on its website. “Native flowering plants are best, and pesticides and other chemicals are avoided. These habitats can be beautiful and they attract birds and other wildlife in addition to pollinators.”

Pollinator gardens can include plants such as bee balm, milkweed, white turtlehead, mountain mint, phlox, and other pollinator-friendly pesticide-free native plants.

AdkAction provides assistance to people who want to create pollinator gardens at home or at their businesses.

And the Pollinator Garden Assistance Program plants community pollinator garden sites across the region. Schools, libraries, hospitals, municipal parks and other community sites are eligible to apply to receive a garden.

Learn more about the Adirondack Pollinator Project at www.adkaction.org/project/adirondack-pollinator-project.

Starting at $1.44/week.

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