Neighbors are ‘beeing’ the change

By Laura Adrian

You may have noticed signs in people’s yards that read, “bee safe yard,” or “pardon the weeds, bee friendly habitat,” as you have walked around your neighborhood.

Julia Brokaw, a doctoral candidate in the Entomology Department at the University of Minnesota, told me that, globally, pollinators such as bees, butterflies, birds and bats are needed for plants to produce seeds and fruits. Pollinators play an essential role in food production and ecosystem health but have been declining in numbers because of, among other things, climate change and ongoing real estate development, Brokaw said.

A group of neighbors, the Saint Paullinators of South Como, recently came together to explore ways the neighborhood could become more pollinator and environmentally friendly. Jessica Willman, District 10 Community Council, said “people were really excited” about forming the group.

Julie, one of the members of the Saint Paullinators , said she became interested in supporting the pollinators when she began landscaping her yard and realized she was only “one player in the scene.” She has since integrated native flowers into her yard and said that “watching the butterflies and bees is the best show.”

Another community member described the group as a way to make meaningful connections to neighbors.

The Saint Paullinators efforts came to fruition on July 29 when the District 10 Community Council hosted a celebration of the first pollinator garden at the Orchard Recreation Center just south of Como Lake. The installation is a beautiful 5-foot by 50-foot garden that is home to native plants on what was previously a barren space.

Another nine pollinator gardens or bee lawns will be installed in the south Como neighborhood over the next year thanks to a $27,000 Lawns to Legumes grant that District 10 has won from the Board of Soil and Water Resources. Bee lawns are turfgrass areas that contain low-growing flowers that can be mowed.

The Lawns to Legumes grants are designed to help communities support pollinator populations. Both community groups and individuals may apply for grants. Homeowners and renters may apply as long as they are willing to maintain the installation for at least five years.

To learn more about creating a pollinator-friendly yard, check out resources through the Lawns to Legumes program, or join the Saint Paullinators of South Como Facebook group. Or check out the website for the District 10 Community Council at district10comopark.org

Already have a pollinator garden? Send pics to Laura.Adrian@ParkBugle.org and I’ll share them on social media! 

Laura Adrian is the social media specialist for the Park Bugle. She also teaches mindful nature connection through her business, Whole Life Elevation.

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