Helping Pollinators & Improving Ecosystems: Inspirations from the UK

Kim Eierman

Kim Eierman

Founder of EcoBeneficial!

Available for virtual and in-person landscape consulting, talks and classes.

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NE Aster and Monarch

Helping Pollinators & Improving Ecosystems: Inspirations from the UK

Just “across the pond” in the United Kingdom, there are some inspiring initiatives going on to help pollinators and create environmental improvements.   In June of this year the British Government’s Minister for Environmental Science announced that a National Pollinator Strategy will soon be created.   This is the only country I know of which has placed pollinators, and their critical role in supporting ecosystems, on a national agenda.  Yay Britan!    It’s time for the U.S. to get on this bandwagon.

The UK’s pollinators will also benefit from the European Union ban on neonicotinoid pesticides which will kick in this December.   Some parks in Greater London have already gone “pesticide-free” including Fryent County Park which has been certified “organic” by the UK Soil Association.   No pesticide sprays going on there to harm insects, birds, and entire food webs.

In London, the Mayor’s Street Tree and Pocket Parks initiatives have contributed significantly to forage and habitat for pollinators and other insects.   Londoners, not just insects, benefit from the beautiful plantings and the improved ecosystem services.   “London in Bloom” is a non-profit campaign and competition where boroughs, communities, residents, businesses work together to “ improve the environment of London to make a greener, cleaner place to live, work and visit.”

Buglife, another UK  non-profit, together with The Co-operative’s  “Plan Bee” campaign are helping to create corridors, or “bee roads” of wildflowers,  uninterrupted expanses of bee forage and wildlife habitat.   The London Underground, an above and below ground transportation system, manages 4,000 hectares of land which function as insect highways and provide a safe haven for a huge variety of wildlife.

Beekeeping has exploded in London with a tripling of beekeepers from 2008 to 2013.  The London Beekeeping Association and the organization, Friends of the Earth, have cautioned that there may not be enough forage sources to go around.  Their advice:  plant for pollinators whether you keep bees or not.  And, if you do keep bees, become well -educated and well- informed on bee health and nutrition.

Some of the most clever initiatives to support pollinators and ecosystems are being run by The Co-operative Funeralcare which operates a number of cemeteries in the UK.   They offer woodland and meadow burial grounds which focus on preserving natural environments with native plants.   No headstones  in these cemetaries – graves are marked by memorial trees or simple bronze plaques.  So far The Co-operative has created eleven acres of wildflower meadows in cemeteries to provide pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies and moths.   Now that’s a place I wouldn’t mind resting in peace!

Plant for Pollinators with Regional Native Plants!
from: Kim Eierman at EcoBeneficial!

Photo: Monarch Butterfly on New England Aster
Photo credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service

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