Friday, February 06, 2015

Are You Helping Protect Our Pollinators?


Jared's pollinator garden

Learn how at this Montgomery Parks Annual Green Matters Symposium

Guest Blog by Jared Ashling 


A few years ago I decided to  make my garden a Certified Butterfly Habitat through the North American Butterfly Association (NABA) certification program. I proudly display my Certified Butterfly Habitat sign because my pollinators bring excitement, sound, and endless entertainment to my garden.  With summer’s arrival come the hundreds of mesmerizing busy bees and wasps that blanket my Pycnanthemum muticum, an insect “melting pot” showcasing insect evolution.   Late summer nights, I am entertained by mysterious hawk moths lurking in the shadows to find my Nicotiana sylvestris, and each autumn I feel honored to have my Tithonia rotundifolia serve as a nectaring pit stop for a few flirtatious monarch butterflies, winking at me with a gentle flutter of their beautiful wings.  When spring comes again I plant dill and patiently await the arrival of the female black swallowtail, possibly the most thoughtful mother of the pollinators. She seeks out a suitable food source in the parsley family, deposits just one egg and then moves on, ensuring no competition for food between siblings.

Pollinators are the actors in my garden theater who entertain me throughout the growing season, but they are also ecosystem superhero’s that play an absolutely critical role in our day to day lives.  We cannot survive without pollinators. An astonishing 80% of the world's plant species require a pollinator to reproduce: plants that not only feed and shelter us, but are absolutely essential within Earth's ecosystems. This relationship between flora and fauna is being challenged on all sides by habitat loss, pesticides, invasive species, and more. As an employee of Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD, and an avid pollinator enthusiast I’m thrilled to invite you to this year’s Green Matters Symposium titled “Protecting our Pollinators.” Come together with the experts at this year's Green Matters to learn what you can do- at work or at home- to protect our pollinators!

Green Matters, an annual symposium at Brookside Gardens since 2004, concentrates attention on the intersection of horticulture and environmental issues. Environmental stewardship is a core value of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), Brookside Gardens' parent organization. As such, we strive to provide timely information and viable solutions to environmental challenges, because we feel strongly that green does matter.

About the Author
Jared Ashling is Brookside Gardens' Volunteer Coordinator. He can be contacted at  jared.ashling@mncppc-mc.org.

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