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 GROWMARK System wants to help 4-H clubs do their part to help sustain and increase honey bee populations by implementing a pollinator garden in their community.
This is the fifth year of the program, open to 4-H clubs, Ag in the Classroom groups, and FFA chapters in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin. Groups that previously participated in the program have been automatically re-enrolled.
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 a 700 square foot area, as well as educational signage to be placed around the garden.
“More than 150 youth organizations have been part of the program since 2016,” said Karen Jones, GROWMARK Youth and Young Producer Specialist. “Growing the number of pollinator gardens this year will help provide even more habitat for bees and other beneficial pollinator species.”