To help protect the local pollinators that are critical to our ecosystems and food supply, National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation are hosting the fifth annual Parks for Pollinators BioBlitz during September. This event celebrates pollinators and raises awareness and community involvement across the country in an effort to mitigate the pollinator crisis.
At a Parks for Pollinators BioBlitz, participants are encouraged to capture photographs of the plants, insects, and animals present in parks and submit them using the iNaturalist platform, an app which identifies and records the observations. This helps park agencies better understand, manage, and plan for the multitude of different species and habitats in their local parks.
People helping pollinators
The protection of pollinators and other insects is vital to sustaining healthy communities. These species are essential for healthy plant communities- ensuring plants can reproduce and continue to flourish. Pollinators are responsible for 1 out of 3 bites of our food and support $34 billion worth of crops every year in our country. Beyond that, they are key to producing food and habitat for other species and many other environmental benefits to our communities.
According to a 2021 NRPA Park Pulse survey, six in seven adults in the United States support their local park and recreation agency’s environmental initiatives, and the top three environmental initiatives supported include wildlife conservation, educating the public on environmental issues, and natural resource management. Additionally, ninety-four percent of U.S. adults agree that it is important for children and young adults to learn about the environment and ways they can help be a good environmental steward according to an April 2022 Park Pulse Survey. The Parks for Pollinators BioBlitz campaign gives park visitors an opportunity to explore and support local parks while engaging in important pollinator preservation work and teaching future generations the importance of environmental stewardship.
Support across the country
“As we embark on the fifth year of support for the annual NRPA Parks for Pollinators BioBlitz campaign, we celebrate the many park agencies working to advance pollinator protection in communities across the country,” said Katherine Dickens, vice president and secretary of The Scotts-Miracle Gro Foundation. “The BioBlitz campaign not only helps to raise public awareness about pollinator health and importance but creates a fun, creative and interactive experience for the participant. We are excited to continue our support of NRPA’s efforts to protect pollinators and their habitat this fall.”
In 2022, a total of 77 park agencies in 24 states from Washington to Florida signed up to host either a virtual or in-person, physically distanced Parks for Pollinators BioBlitz event. These events bolstered local environmental education, increased awareness of pollinators and the role local parks play in their health and helped parks and communities improve local pollinator habitats.
Let’s GroMoreGood, together
NRPA and The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation began their partnership in 2018 with the creation of the Parks for Pollinators campaign to raise public awareness of pollinator health and encourage local action through public parks and pollinator gardens. Together, as part of ScottsMiracle-Gro’s GroMoreGood initiative, they are working to educate more children, families and communities about the importance of pollinators and what people can do to help.
In addition to its GroMoreGood gardens and greenspaces initiative, ScottsMiracle-Gro has engaged in a multiyear Pollinator Promise effort since 2015 to help home gardeners, community gardeners and urban planners understand the critical role pollinators play in our ecosystem and to provide them with the tools necessary to grow successful pollinator gardens.
To learn more about Parks for Pollinators, or find a local event, visit www.nrpa.org/parks4pollinators.