Two approaches to supporting native pollinators
Muller, Lauren Virginia
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Pollinator conservation often involves two components: habitat restoration and educational outreach. In an experimental out planting of year-old Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) plants we tested the effects of fertilizer application and spring mowing on plant growth, flowering, and fruiting. Plants performed similarly under all treatment methods suggesting that a dormant-season planting without site treatments is an effective establishment method. We recommend focusing on growing healthy potted plants to ensure the successful establishment in grassland ecosystems in the Georgia Piedmont. Urban green spaces are known refuges for pollinators while also serving as places where conservation education can reach diverse audiences. We studied the efficacy of a college campus native plant garden to teach pollinator conservation topics to undergraduates using the garden as an outdoor classroom. This was an effective teaching method for both science and non-science majors and a majority of the students also supported the garden and interpretive signage as a framework for discussing topics on pollinator conservation and plant insect interactions.