Here’s how you can join in:
Sign the Pollinator Pledge, and if you choose, donate either $10 or $20 to receive a metal sign to post in your yard designating your property as on the Pollinator Pathway. Share the information posted here and encourage friends and neighbors to take the Pollinator Pathway Pledge to build our local corridor more quickly.
What is a pollinator pathway, anyway?
It is defined as a wildlife corridor providing nutrition and habitat safety for pollinators and includes both healthy yards and public spaces. There are already over 250 towns in the Northeast on the Pollinator Pathway, all connected to one another. Our goal is to help create an ever larger corridor, connecting more and more communities, by beginning right here in Kennebunkport.
Who are the pollinators?
They include any animals that move pollen from one plant to another, allowing the reproduction and growth of new plants. Over 35 % of our food grows as a result of the pollinators’ work, making them crucial to our future well-being. Pollinators include birds, bees, butterflies, and other insects, as well as some mammals and amphibians. Our pollinators are under threat, and their numbers are shrinking. This is primarily due to the widespread use of pesticides and other chemicals on lawns, landscaped planting areas, public spaces, and food crops. Also contributing is climate change leading to a lack of hosts for larvae of pollinators, as well as ever-increasing habitat loss as more of our natural environment becomes developed. Fortunately, there is much we can do to help the pollinators and, subsequently, our vital food crops to survive and thrive by committing to adopting safe and healthy habits for your lawn and garden now. These practices adopted by each of us on a small scale at home can have an enormous positive impact on the health of our local ecosystem!
Three of the most impactful changes you can make at home when you sign the pledge to become a Pollinator Pathway member are:
- Plant native plants! Trees, shrubs, and wildflowers that are native to our area provide food and shelter for pollinators. At the same time, remove any non-native invasive plants that have been planted inadvertently or spread into your lawn or garden.
- Go pesticide free! Your lawn will also become healthy for children and pets. Reduce tick habitat through specific plantings. Consider organic alternatives to poisons found in pesticides.
- Rethink your lawn! Consider converting part of your lawn to native plantings. Mow less frequently and leave the clippings on your lawn in place of adding fertilizers. Leave some leaves in your beds and leave some or all of the plants standing as shelter during the winter for over-wintering insects and other species. Plant white clover in with your grass. It, too, is food for pollinators. It’s attractive and soft on bare feet. In addition, clover fixes nitrogen taken from the air, making your grass greener without the addition of fertilizer.
You will find helpful links on the Kennebunkport Conservation Commission’s website to assist you in learning what to plant to “go native,” as well as identifying the non-native invasives to remove. You’ll also find tips on pest control and where to find wild seeds or plant seedlings that have not been sprayed with pesticides during the growing process.