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Our Pollinator Gardens Are Saving Lives!

We really ARE making a difference! Keep making backyard pollinator gardens, keep planting milkweed, and keep adding ponds and rain gardens! Each one is contributing to restoration success - ecologist Doug Tallamy recently highlighted several amazing studies showing just how important it is to add beneficial plants and water sources to your home gardens. We all knew it was important, but it’s incredibly encouraging to learn that scientists (and citizen science data) are showing that our backyard oases are indeed making a difference in biodiversity.

Very promising news showing how important our pollinator gardens are to monarch populations!

Keep up the native plantings, and petition your community leaders to stop spraying and misting for mosquitos, and to change white street lights to yellow bulbs to minimize stress to pollinators.

When we increase our natives, especially shrubs and trees, then we not only support pollinators, but also those who rely on them for food!

And of course, creating small ponds and water features (without chemicals or invasive plants), is another critical part of supporting our ecosystem - plus you get the benefit of added beauty and adorable residents!

There has been some concern amongst conservation biologists that creating butterfly gardens or water features in backyards, in particular in cities and suburban environments with minimal natural habitat nearby, could cause ecological traps. Analysis by Jesus Zuniga Palacios and colleagues of almost 40 studies and 15 countries indicates that urban habitats are not creating ecological traps for most species studied, but we of course need to fight for more supportive environments in developed areas so that the creatures we are attracting and supporting in our backyards aren’t then harmed by issues such as light pollution or mosquito/pest treatments.

If you aren't familiar with the nonprofit Homegrown National Park, founded by Doug Tallamy and Michelle Alfandari, check out their website for more information and for great guides and tips. The mission of HNP is “to regenerate biodiversity because all humans need healthy, productive ecosystems to survive.” The HNP “raises awareness and urgently inspires everyone to address the biodiversity crisis by adding native plants and removing invasive ones where we live, work, learn, pray, and play.” Make sure to get on their biodiversity map - a fantastic interactive tool for the community to see the total area of the U.S. and Canada occupied by native plants! The more data we have the more we can learn about the difference we are making!

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