Protecting Pollinators in Central Arizona and Beyond
Most people know that bees are pollinators, busily flying from one flowering plant to another, and spreading pollen as they go. But did you also know that at least two endangered bat species and 13 endangered bird species in the United States are also pollinators? We depend on pollinators for the survival of many of our crops, as well as plants in natural areas.
Arizona is part of a “nectar corridor” that stretches all the way from central Mexico to the Canadian border. A tremendous diversity of pollinators (including several endangered species) call Arizona home, but as the state’s cities have expanded, the nectar corridor has become increasingly fragmented, leaving pollinators without adequate resources or habitat.
In partnership with the City of Phoenix, Audubon Arizona used their Toyota TogetherGreen Innovation Grant to launch Project Pollinator, a program that has helped inspire Phoenix residents to restore parts of the nectar corridor right in their own yards. They developed a demonstration garden that illustrates pollinator-friendly planting (such as landscaping with native plants and limiting pesticide use), while engaging volunteers who helped install and continue to maintain the garden. Audubon Arizona also worked with volunteers to develop educational signage in English and Spanish so that the lessons offered by the garden can be accessible to more Arizonans. Not only does the garden provide a dynamic teaching tool for conveying information about pollinators to the general public, but also increases habitat and provides a demonstration area for other sites and homeowners to duplicate.