Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pollinator Week, Pt. 2: Sign, sign, everywhere a sign...

Have you ever been walking (or driving) through your neighborhood and seen signs in people's gardens, but you weren't sure what they meant? Did you ever stop to ask?

I've seen a few of the National Wildlife Federation's "Certified Wildlife Habitat" signs in my own neighborhood, and I also have one myself.
This is a self-certify program, and in order to certify your space, you must do 4 things:
1. Provide food
2. Provide water
3. Provide cover/shelter
4. Provide nesting areas/areas to raise young.

You can do this for any wildlife- squirrels, chipmunks, birds, and of course... bugs and pollinators! For pollinators, you can provide nectar-rich flowers and host plants for food, a puddling area (very shallow dish with water and/or mud) for water, and for most pollinators, shelter doubles as the nesting area- so you can provide a bee house, or leave piles of leaves/sticks, and patches of mulch-free bare ground for bees to make nests.

I've also seen one of these cute ladybug "Pesticide Free Zone" signs in a neighborhood yard (with lovely gardens). I was curious about the sign, so I looked it up, and found "Beyond Pesticides" where you can pledge to keep your lawn and garden pesticide free and order your sign to proudly proclaim your poison-free space! I think what's great about this sign is, if you've got an especially beautiful garden and you display the sign, people are going to notice- and they'll be impressed. "Wow, they didn't need nasty chemicals to make their garden look like that."

Here are a couple of links with more info from "Beyond Pesticides":
And should you choose to take the pledge, here's where you can order your sign (you can choose ladybug or bee):

In connection to "Beyond Pesticides" and helping out bees, here's a link with information about Honeybee Haven:
Similar to the "Beyond Pesticides" and "Certified Wildlife Habitats", there is a pledge along with Honey Bee Haven's "Bee Friendly" sign:
1. Protect bees from pesticides- don't use them!
2. Provide flowers for bees
3. Provide a water source for the bees
4. Provide shelter and cover for bees- such as a beehouse or undisturbed/unmulched ground.

The Pollinator Partnership has a new campaign called "S.H.A.R.E.: Simply Have Areas Reserved for the Environment." You can read about SHARE here:
And when you register your SHARE space, you have the option to order a sign for your area, too. I haven't seen a picture of the sign on their website yet- I think this is a somewhat new initiative and perhaps they haven't uploaded one yet. But I made the donation and ordered mine yesterday- when it comes, I'll post a pic!

The Xerces Society also offers a beautiful and informative "Pollinator Habitat" sign for your garden. The fine print says that you've planted pollinator-friendly plants and kept pesticides out of the area. The sign is part of Xerces Society's "Bring Back the Pollinators!" campaign.

 You can order the Xerces Society's sign here:

They, too, have a 4-step-program, with a slight difference. Their 4 steps are-
1. Provide flowers for pollinators
2. Provide places for pollinators to lay eggs (host plants, bee houses)
3. Don't use pesticides
4. Talk to your friends/family/neighbors about the importance of pollinators end encourage them to join in your efforts (kind of like the goal of this license plate!).
With so many great programs and neat signs out there, it's hard to choose just one. I think having some sort of sign in your front gardens does help promote conversation about pollinator (and other wildlife) conservation, and these are all great causes, too!

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