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, National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation are hosting the fourth annual Parks for Pollinators BioBlitz during September. This event celebrates pollinators and raises awareness and community involvement across the country in the pollinator crisis.
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 and habitats in their local parks.
The protection of pollinators and other insects is vital to sustaining healthy communities. These species are essential for healthy plant communities- ensuring plants can reproduce and continue to flourish. Pollinators are responsible for 1 out of 3 bites of our food and support $34 billion worth of crops every year in our country. Beyond that, they are key to producing food and habitat for other species and many other environmental benefits to our communities.
An Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report in 2016 found that up to 40% of pollinators were at risk of extinction in the coming decades. Additionally, monarch butterflies are now an endangered species. And 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 2021 NRPA Park Pulse 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. Additionally, ninety-four percent of U.S. adults agree that it is important for children and young adults to learn about the environment and ways they can help be a good environmental steward according to an April 2022 Park Pulse Survey. The Parks for Pollinators BioBlitz campaign gives park visitors an opportunity to explore and support local parks while engaging in important pollinator preservation work and teaching future generations the importance of environmental stewardship.
“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.”
“As we embark on the fourth annual NRPA Parks for Pollinators BioBlitz campaign, we celebrate the many park agencies working to advance pollinator protection in communities across the country,” said Katherine Dickens, manager of corporate social responsibility at ScottsMiracle-Gro. “The BioBlitz campaign not only helps to raise public awareness about pollinator health and importance but does so in a fun, creative and interactive way. We are excited to support NRPA’s continued efforts to protect pollinators and their habitat this fall.”
In 2021, a total of 73 park agencies in 25 states from Hawaii to New York 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 and communities 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 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 nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit 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, visitwww.scottsmiraclegrofoundation.org.