This is the time of year we can temper the care of pollinator habitats as our pollinators either migrate or hibernate. Traditionally, Autumn was seen as a time of year of raking, trimming and cleaning of our gardens. What the pollinators want us to know is to please leave the leaves; they shelter them; minimize ground disturbances because that’s where they may want to nest, and check under logs and rocks before moving them as our vertebrate like to winter under them.
It is also time for the Pollinator Habitat Group to assess our work, reflect on our accomplishments and plan for the next year. [See our Group Leader Monarch Cindy Linafelter as she reflects on our busy first year] It’s rather remarkable that this group first met as COVID-19 was starting to rear its ugly head. We met once in person before shifting gears and going virtual. We used that time to share resources which led to a June Viewing Party for all community members on “Pollinators 101”. Later that month we adorned masks and had a guided tour through The Gardens of Spring Creek.
The Pollinator Habitat BLOG debut July 2020 with a new submission the first Tuesday of each month. This led us to the study of what a Pollinator Habitat entails and how it is accomplished. A Landscape Designer led us through a two-part virtual workshop which we created a beautiful model of a pollinator habitat to be used as a multi-use space where local community groups and school children could visit an outdoor learning area, as well as an outdoor meeting space. We submitted the plan along with a proposal to the city of Fort Collins. Then along came COVD-19 restricting finances and group gatherings.
January 2021 our group was invited to join the Colorado League of Women Voters Climate Emergency Task Force. To date the LWV Larimer County Pollinator Group is the only League-sponsored pollinator group in the state. February 2021, we hosted the LWVLC General Meeting, “How to Be a Pollinator Protector”. Guest Speakers from the State and Local Chapter of People & Pollinators Action Network facilitated the conversation. Leading up to that meeting we wrote letters to the Mayor & City Council members of Fort Collins and Loveland; the Larimer County Commissioners, Colorado State Senator J. Ginal, Representatives C. Kipp & J. Arndt and US Senators Bennet & Hickenlooper, and US Representative J. Neguse. I had written exchanges with several of our government leaders & we had a couple in attendance. During this period, we campaigned along with several organizations to pass a bill for a Pollinator Habitat License Plate. The campaign was a success with expected availability of the plate in Spring 2022. March 2021, we began collaboration with People & Pollinators Action Network, Nature in the City, Audubon of the Rockies, The Wild Ones Front Range Chapter, Wildlands Restoration, and the Colorado Native Plant Society to host a Spring Plant Swap. Our group was able to secure nursery space at CSU to grow 100 plus native plants we donated to the plant swap plus provided six volunteers to help the day of the event.
May 2021, Nature in the City reached out to us for volunteers to help maintain the pollinator habitat at Sugar Beet Park. We wrote letters to our Senators in support of the MONARCH Act of 2021, we personally thanked Governor Polis for proclaiming June Colorado Pollinator Month, and high-fived our friends at Nature in the City for cheering on the Mayor of Fort Collins declaring April MONARCH AND POLLINATION CONSERVATION Month. As we navigated COVID-19 we continued to study the benefits of native plants to our pollinators with outdoor field trips to the High Plains Environmental Center, Loveland and to the pollinator habitat of a co-leader of PPAN.
We had a very special outing to member, Lisa Boesen’s backyard to meet her bees & learn about backyard bee/honey operations. Dressed in pollinator costumes, we worked on the “Fall Trick or Treat Seed Swap”, October 23 at the Wolverine Farm Publick House along with our friends from the Spring Plant Swap. Our participation usually includes planning, coordinating of volunteers, publicity and most often the opportunity to learn a new skill. We were offered onsite training by the Wildland Restoration Volunteer Coordinator on seed collection and seed cleaning.
As we head toward the Winter months our birds remind us, they need shelter, water and food. Group member Lauren, Wild Birds Unlimited, Fort Collins will guide you in how to provide high energy food for your visiting birds and the need for water. And please know that your problem with grasshoppers in your garden this summer has been an excellent protein source for our backyard birds.
In closing I remain optimistic for the future of our pollinators as I have worked side-by-side with those who share their talents, expertise, and compassion. We recognize the wonder in pollinators! The Pollinator Habitat Group will continue to address the decline in our native pollinators. We will continue to talk to the need for a sustainable habitat of food, shelter and water in “Our own backyard” with specific recommendations, while joining in collaboration with other organizations to advocate for their survival in our community, county and state.
Ps: We are starting our plans for celebrating Earth Week in April. Comment in our Blog if you want to help: The Pollinator Habitat Group would love to hear from you. Here’s how:
Every first Tuesday you and your friends can sign in to Pollinator Habitat Group Blog for the most recent pollinator news from the Environmental Action Team and its Pollinator Habitat Group. Email email@example.com with your own story, questions, good Pollinator "B's" tips. We'll share your comments on the blog!
Questions? Contact Tuesday BsBlog, firstname.lastname@example.org
*Interested in joining the Pollinator Habitat Group or other Inquiries, please contact Cindy Linafelter, Cynthialinafelter@gmail.com.