Public asked to plant gardens for bees/pollinators at PennDOT rest stops, interchanges, traffic islands |

Public asked to plant gardens for bees/pollinators at PennDOT rest stops, interchanges, traffic islands

Mary Ann Thomas
USDA photo by Charles Bryson
A monarch butterfly collects nectar from a flower. Buttrflies are one of nature’s many pollinators for flowers and crops.

It’s National Pollinator Week (June 17-23) and PennDOT is asking the public to plant pollinator gardens at approved PennDOT-owned properties including rest stops, interchanges and traffic islands in Armstrong and Clarion counties, as well as other areas covered by the district.

Individuals or groups such as clubs, schools, churches, businesses and families may apply to adopt gardens for two-year time frames. In return for their participation, PennDOT will post signs near the garden crediting the volunteers.

“An extension of the Adopt-A-Highway program, the adopt-a-pollinator garden project serves as a way for the public to take care of local areas they care about and to help to keep them clean,” said Joseph Dubovi, District 10 Executive. “By creating these gardens, we can also help to revive the health of pollinators across Pennsylvania.”

Pollinators such as bees, which are in decline around the world, contribute to the reproduction of more than 85 percent of the world’s flowering plants and two-thirds of the world’s crop species, according to Laurel Hoffman, soil conservationist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service office in Kittanning.

“A pollinator garden should have early season, mid-season and late season blooming flowers in order to provide nectar all season long,” Hoffman said.

“Establishing a garden requires management of competing weeds without the use of harmful herbicides, a diversity of native plant species seeds, and patience since it will take a few years for full establishment,” she said.

Hoffman also pointed out that the Xerces Society, an environmental nonprofit, is focusing on conservation opportunities along roadsides, which can connect otherwise isolated patches of pollinator habitat. According to its website: “Roadsides form an extensive network of habitats that crisscross our landscapes, with an estimated 17 million acres of road¬sides in the care of state transportation agencies in the United States.”

More information on PennDOT’s new pollinator program, including adoption applications, can be found on the Adopt and Beautify page.

Potential participants in Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Indiana and Jefferson counties can visit the PennDOT county contact page for more information.

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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