Monday, February 22, 2016

VDOT Pollinator Habitat Program


It's been a while since I updated Ye Olde Bloge... because once the plates were available, there was not much to report.
Until now!

Beginning in July 2016, the Pollinator Plates will become Revenue-Sharing plates, contributing to pollinator habitats throughout the state! We will be supporting VDOT's new Pollinator Habitat Program!

As luck would have it, just a couple of months after the plates had been signed into law by Governor McAuliffe, the most perfect partnership for the Pollinator Plates was presented to me. Nicole Hamilton of Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy had contacted VDOT to inquire about ceasing the mowing and spraying of existing milkweed in medians in an effort to help Monarch Butterflies. In addition to allowing existing Milkweed to grow in the medians, she had the idea to plant more Milkweed and plants for pollinators in these huge areas of land that are currently planted with fescue or taken over by invasive plants.

I was invited to the initial meeting to contribute some ideas for how the habitats could also help bees. After a few months of swapping ideas, the official Pollinator Habitat Program was born! This program will be a statewide effort to add pollinator habitat along highway medians (those that are wide enough), and create pollinator gardens at rest stops throughout the state, along with educational signage to tell travelers about the gardens and importance of pollinators. It seemed only fitting that the Pollinator Plates would be a fantastic way to help with this effort.

Even though the program isn't quite in full swing yet, they couldn't wait to get started! So last year, two rest stop plantings were completed. Here's the press release for one of them:

The Pollinator Plate annual fee will increase from $10 to $25 starting in July, 2016. I have spoken to so many of you who are excited about this positive change, and I am delighted by your enthusiasm! There are some VA drivers who don't have the plates but are actually waiting to until July to purchase them, specifically when the change is implemented so they can be sure to contribute to the program. I can't tell you how happy that makes me.

This is such an incredible opportunity- the plates being on the road is a great way to raise awareness, but we now have action happening to help pollinators! It is the most fulfilling feeling in the world. I was just a single person devoted to a cause, hoping to raise awareness, and with so much support from you, we got these plates on the road. I truly hope all of you will be excited to know your plates are now helping the pollinators! ❤️

Thank you all again! We are making a difference!