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Nonprofit working to turn Washington Co. parks into habitats for bees, butterflies and other pollinators

STILLWATER, Minn. — A group of Minnesotans is turning hundreds of acres of land into pollinator habitats.            

The Pollinator Friendly Alliance is doing work across Washington County parks to make sure our bees, butterflies and beetles have space to do their thing.

At Pine Point Park in Stillwater, a cornfield leased out by the county is now a native shortgrass prairie.

“The bumble bee is having such a good time on this monarda,” said Laurie Schneider, executive director of Pollinator Friendly Alliance.

The Stillwater field is one of several chunks of county-owned land that Pollinator Friendly Alliance has converted to pollinator habitat.

Schneider showed WCCO-TV a leased soybean field that will be turned into pollinator prairie by spring.

The prairies require maintenance the first three years until they’re established.

And the cost?

“You’re talking $20,000 to $60,000 for seed for 14 to 20 acres,” Schneider said.

Something the nonprofit has been successful at funding through grants and donations.

“Some of the partners are like Patagonia, Lush cosmetics, other pollinator groups,” Schneider said.

Many locals have pitched in. 

“There’s so much community pride over these vestiges that we’re bringing back,” Schneider said. “They want to be a part of it.”

All to make life more lush for a keystone species.

Part of the long term vision for one of these projects is to add Bison or another herd species to the Lake Elmo Park Reserve.

Schneider said that will help complete the ecosystem and keep plant and animal diversity in check.

What could you plant in your backyard for pollinators?

Mountain mint, black-eyed Susans, and monarda are all good options, Schneider said.

For more information on Washington County resource management projects, click here. 

Source: CBS Minnesota

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