Creating Local, Pollinator-Friendly Habitats with Native Seeds
Pollinator species are responsible for approximately 1/3 of the food we consume each day. Yet, pollinators are at a critical point in species survival. There are many reasons for this steep decline, but experts agree that planting more native nectar and pollen sources will positively impact their health and survival rate.
The plight of honeybees, monarch butterflies, birds, bats and other native pollinators have placed a renewed sense of urgency on the development and conservation of local pollinator habitats. Our goal is to remind farmers, homeowners, government agencies and non-government organizations that the native seed mix choices they make can provide pollinator-friendly habitats that make a difference for pollinator species within our local environments.
When planting a native pollinator habitat, each species should be carefully considered for bee and pollinator health in order to help restoration efforts and combat declining pollinator populations with sustainability in mind.
Ernst Seeds has collaborated with researchers at The Center for Pollinator Research at Pennsylvania State University, as well as other institutions and organizations. We have learned about the impact that different plant species have on the overall wellbeing of native pollinator species. This knowledge has enabled us to fine-tune the species that we focus on. Native plant species provide essential nectar and pollen forage, as well as nesting opportunities for pollinators. We supply the appropriate plant species to support the dietary and habitat needs of pollinators across Eastern North America.
Learn More By Reading Our Pollinator Blogs
Pollinator Habitat Solutions for Private Sector and Government Landowners
There are many ways landowners can make an impact on the alarming declines of pollinators. They can provide pollinator habitat while cost-effectively maintaining their land. Homeowners, corporations, public and private institutions and agencies are installing pollinator meadows, strips and gardens into their properties and finding that maintenance costs are lower than turf. The cumulative effect of the culture change has the potential to stem the decline of pollinators and restore them to healthy numbers.
The 2018 Farm Bill made pollinators and pollinator habitats a priority for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) This Bill also authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to encourage the development of habitat for pollinators and support conservation agriculture programs and initiatives. Learn more about available programs and initiatives for farmers.
Many fruit and vegetable growers are now planting pollinator meadows adjacent to their row crops and orchards, commonly referred to as buffer strips. These pollinator meadows help increase both honeybee and native bee populations by providing food and nectar when the cash crop is not in bloom.
Start planning ahead with our project planner! Create different project boards, save selected seed mixes and more. Whether you’re a Landscape Architect trying to keep track of different clients, or a homeowner looking to create unique lists for different land plots, keeping record of your ideas is key to success.
Incorporating Pollinator-Friendly Native Seed Mixes into Solar Energy Farms
Solar energy farm sites can have a holistic approach to sustainability by incorporating pollinator-friendly seed mixes into their revegetation plans. In doing so, they provide habitat for insects and wildlife, increase pollinator activity to nearby crops, increase water infiltration and more.
Ernst Seeds’ Solar Farm Seed Mixes are pre-made mixes that work with most solar energy sites in the eastern United States and Canada. We also offer custom seed mixes, tailored to specific solar energy site needs.
Pollinator & Research Organizations We Work With
Minnesota-Based Fresh Energy is a nationally-recognized source of expert knowledge on the use of native species to vegetate solar energy sites. These sites planted with deep-rooted native flowers and grasses capture and filter stormwater, build topsoil, and provide healthy food for pollinators and other beneficial insects.
In 2018, Fresh Energy expanded this work and created the Center for Pollinators in Energy. The Center for Pollinators in Energy is a national clearinghouse and catalyst for pollinator-friendly solar energy information, standards, best practices and state-based initiatives. Learn more.
Monarch Vegetation Services (MVS) is an independently owned and operated, mobile ecological restoration company that specializes in native and pollinator-friendly vegetation installation. MVS has experience in installation for solar energy farms, meadows, capped landfills, wetlands, private or public lands. Learn more.
Vorisek’s Backyard Bee Farm serves primarily local customers and is one of the very few businesses in Northwest Pa offering locally and domestically produced honey and hive products. They have provided honeybee pollinator services for our seed production for many years.
We’ve partnered with The Xerces Society to offer a number of regional seed mixes approved by, and supporting its efforts. View Xerces Seed Mixes.