Each September, our annual Plant Something Bee-eautiful program awards grants to Keep Massachusetts Beautiful chapters and other organizations. These grants support the planting of pollinator-friendly plants and trees in public spaces. The goal is not only to beautify public spaces, but also to restore natural habitats for pollinators.
Bees and other pollinators are in serious decline around the world. According to the Pollinator Project, the monarch butterfly population has declined by 90% over the past 20 years. Pollinators, including 20,000 species of wild bees, contribute to the growth of fruit, vegetables, and flowering plants. Plants that depend on pollination make up 35 percent of global crop production volume with a value of as much as $577 billion a year.
For 2020, our Plant Something Bee-eautiful Grantees include:
Keep Fitchburg Beautiful ($500 grant ) is collaborating with the North County Land Trust, the Busy Bees Preschool, and Growing Places, a nonprofit that specializes in community gardening, to establish community gardens on a newly acquired parcel on Quarry Lane in Fitchburg. This community garden is in a densely populated, ethnically diverse neighborhood that has been designated by the state as an Environmental Justice area. The community garden will consist of raised beds where the students and neighbors can garden and learn together. The plan will incorporate a pollinator garden into the entrance of the property as well as mini pollinator patches throughout the raised beds. In addition to pollinators on the property itself, the group plans to create pollinator corridors throughout the neighborhood by providing plants to neighbors.
Keep Weymouth Beautiful ($250 grant) is collaborating with the Weymouth Garden Club, and a local Brownie troop and Cub Scout troop to create a new butterfly garden either at the Whipple Senior Center, a local park, or the new middle school. By involving a multi-generational group of volunteers, this project will serve as an example and inspiration to future leaders in Weymouth. Final plans are still being developed with a goal of planting the garden in the spring of 2021.
The Food Forest Initiative of Cape Cod ($500 grant) is a group of ecologists and farmers who create educational planting sites. They will use their funds to create a public pollinator garden for walkers in the Harwich Food Forest Walking Commons. They also plan to develop a customized pollinator seed mix that can be used for habitat restoration projects underneath electric power lines on Cape Cod. Throughout 2021, they plan to maintain 20 x 20 planting beds, observe and photograph pollinator activity, and provide data to a national database through the Beecology App.
The Permaculture Garden at West Parish Church ($500 grant) is in a highly visible location at an intersection of two major roads in Andover. Funds will be used to purchase additional native perennial pollinators, such as purple cone flowers, bee balm, blueberry bushes, and wild geraniums. The project will help pollinators by offering a condensed area of flowers for them to forage and lengthen the pollination window of opportunity by months. The Permaculture Garden also yields more than 1,000 pounds of produce annually that is distributed to local food pantries. More than 50 volunteers, including members of local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, volunteer in the garden from March through November. The Garden Committee also plans to install signs along the garden pathways to inform visitors about the importance of bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
The Newburyport Community Butterfly Garden ($250 grant) occupies approximate 624 square feet along the Clipper City Rail Trail in Newburyport. For the past three years, volunteers have coordinated with the City of Newburyport’s Parks Department to establish and maintain a butterfly garden. Behind an attractive wooden fence next to the public rail trail, dozens of pollinator-friendly plants enjoy full sun. The garden also features hummingbird feeders and regular bird feeders. Funds will be used to buy additional perennials that will be planted within two wild grass areas that await additional plantings. The beds will be prepared in the fall of 2020 with new plantings coming in the spring of 2021.
Congratulations to our 2020 grants awardees! Learn more about the Plant Something Bee-eautiful program and apply for a 2021 grant.