Serving as essential components of community resiliency nationwide, local parks empower Americans to support pollinators
To help protect the local pollinators that are critical to our ecosystems and food supply, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation are hosting the third annual Parks for Pollinators BioBlitz during September. This event celebrates pollinators and raises awareness and community involvement across the country in the pollinator crisis.
The protection of pollinators and other insects is vital to sustaining healthy communities. Across the globe, we are losing one to two percent of insects, which include many pollinators, every year due to multiple complex factors, including climate change, pesticide misuse, light pollution, invasive species, and changes in agriculture and land use, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
However, parks play a key role in protecting and preserving pollinators and their habitats. According to a recent NRPA survey, six in seven adults in the United States support their local park and recreation agency’s environmental initiatives, and the top three environmental initiatives supported include wildlife conservation, educating the public on environmental issues, and natural resource management. The Parks for Pollinators BioBlitz campaign gives park visitors an opportunity to explore and support local parks while engaging in important pollinator preservation work.
“Park and recreation professionals, who serve nearly every community in the United States, are essential in building more resilient and sustainable communities. This includes addressing and supporting the important role pollinators play and inspiring individuals to take action and become future environmental stewards,” said Ayanna Williams, NRPA director of community and environmental resilience.
“NRPA proudly partners with The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation on the Parks for Pollinators BioBlitz campaign to help engage communities in pollinator protection and to connect them to the vast network of local parks and pollinator resources.”
At a Parks for Pollinators BioBlitz, participants are encouraged to capture photographs of the plants, insects, and animals present in parks and submit them using the iNaturalist platform, an app which identifies and records the observations. This helps park agencies better understand, manage, and plan for the multitude of different species in their local parks.
“It’s critical that we continue to raise awareness about the importance of pollinators and pollinator-friendly spaces, and more importantly, how individuals and communities can work together to help protect them,” said Carol Kauffman, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at ScottsMiracle-Gro. “The Parks for Pollinators BioBlitz empowers communities to take action, transforming individuals into citizen scientists who can visit their local parks and contribute to the solution.”
In 2020, a total of 57 park agencies in 24 states signed up to host either a virtual or in-person, physically distanced Parks for Pollinators BioBlitz event. These events bolstered local environmental education, increased awareness of pollinators and the role local parks play in their health, and helped parks improve local pollinator habitats.
NRPA and The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation began their partnership in 2018 with the creation of the Parks for Pollinators campaign to raise public awareness of pollinator health and encourage local action through public parks and pollinator gardens. Together, as part of ScottsMiracle-Gro’s GroMoreGood initiative, they are working to educate more children, families and communities about the importance of pollinators and what people can do to help.
In addition to its GroMoreGood gardens and greenspaces initiative, ScottsMiracle-Gro has engaged in a multiyear Pollinator Promise effort since 2015 to help home gardeners, community gardeners and urban planners understand the critical role pollinators play in our ecosystem and to provide them with the tools necessary to grow successful pollinator gardens.
To learn more about Parks for Pollinators, or find a local event, visit www.nrpa.org/parks4pollinators.
To learn more about the GroMoreGood initiative, visit www.GroMoreGood.org.
About the National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is the leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to building strong, vibrant and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation. With more than 60,000 members, NRPA advances this mission by investing in and championing the work of park and recreation professionals and advocates — the catalysts for positive change in service of equity, climate-readiness, and overall health and well-being. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.
About The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation
The mission of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation is to inspire, connect and cultivate a community of purpose. The Foundation is deeply rooted in helping create healthier communities, empower the next generation, and preserve our planet. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that funds non-profit entities that support its core initiatives in the form of grants, endowments and multi-year capital gifts. For more information, visit www.scottsmiraclegrofoundation.org.