IARN — The GROWMARK System is once again offering a program that helps 4-H and other Ag clubs do their part to help sustain and increase honey bee populations.
GROWMARK’s pollinator garden program is entering is sixth year, says Karen Jones – GROWMARK’s youth and young producer specialist. Honey bees and other pollinators play an important role in the agricultural ecosystem. These same pollinators are under stress from a number of factors: pests, disease, lack of habitat, and more. The pollinator garden program helps provide more habitat for bees and other beneficial pollinator species. Jones says the program is open to 4-H and Ag clubs in four Midwestern states.
“Right now, we’re offering this program in Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Missouri,” Jones said. “That’s mostly because of the seeds that we have available. To us, it grows best in those states. We’re targeting 4-H, FFA and Ag in the classroom groups, but I’m also open to other community groups like a Scouts or something like that if there is another youth group that is interested.”
As part of the program, organizations are asked to locate a public place and secure permission to plant a pollinator garden prior to filling out an application. This could be in a park, near a school, along a well-traveled road, at the county fairgrounds, or any visible location. GROWMARK will provide enough seed to plant approximately a 700 square foot area, as well as educational signage to be placed around the garden.
Jones is excited for this year’s cycle, and says the program has gone over well in past years.
“I ask for pictures and I always get some really pretty pictures of flowers blooming and some nice shots of these young people tilling, weeding, watering and all of the stuff that goes along with it,” she said. “We just think it’s a nice way to bring attention to pollinators and to promote pollinator habitat, and then also give these youth groups the opportunity to do something for their community that benefits in more than one way.”
Clubs wishing to participate should fill out the online application by March 12. Questions may be directed to Jones by calling 309-557-6184, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Story courtesy of the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network
Photo courtesy of GROWMARK