To help protect the local pollinators that are critical to our ecosystems and food supply, the 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 that 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.
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.
“Park and recreation professionals, who serve nearly every community in the United States, are essential in building more resilient and sustainable communities,” said Ayanna Williams, NRPA director of community and environmental resilience. “This includes addressing and supporting the important role pollinators play and inspiring individuals to take action and become future environmental stewards.”
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.
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 Scotts Miracle-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, Scotts Miracle-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.