What You See Is Not Always What You Get: Local Kids Supporting Nature


Supporting nature is not what comes to mind when most of us think about kids in 2023, but what you think is not always what is. “The sidewalk level tree pit beds across from Blackwell House along the sidewalk south of Rivercross are planted by youth,” says iDig2Learn founder Christina Delfico, “and filled with regional wildflowers specifically boosting habitat for pollinators like the endangered Monarch Butterfly.”

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

They first look like weeds, but closer inspection shows the careful cultivation of regional wildflowers. And its not just for appreciation alone. The wildflowers take part in the ebb and flow of life, often unseen in urban spaces, as pollinators migrate through the seasons.

Roosevelt Island youth work hard at making a safe haven for them, enhancing the prospects of saving as much of nature as possible.

Boosting Pollinator Habitats: The Power of Planting Regional Wildflowers

A bumblebee does its thing with an obedient plant – safely on Main Street, Roosevelt Island.

Pollinators like bees, butterflies, and birds play a crucial role in our ecosystems. They help plants reproduce by transferring pollen from the male parts of a flower to the female parts. This process is vital for the survival of many plant species and for the production of fruits, vegetables, and nuts that make up a significant portion of our diet. Unfortunately, pollinator populations are declining worldwide due to habitat loss, pesticide exposure, climate change, and disease.

One of the most effective ways to support these essential creatures is by planting and cultivating regional wildflowers. These native plants have co-evolved with local pollinators and are particularly well-suited to provide the nectar and pollen they need to thrive.

How it works…

The Monarch Butterfly, an iconic North American species, relies heavily on one specific plant: milkweed. Monarchs lay their eggs only on milkweed plants, and the caterpillars that hatch feed exclusively on milkweed leaves. Sadly, milkweed is becoming less common in many areas due to urban development and the widespread use of herbicides in agriculture.

By planting milkweed and other regional wildflowers in our gardens, parks, and other green spaces, we can provide vital habitat and food sources for Monarch Butterflies and other pollinators. Moreover, native wildflowers require less water and fewer chemicals to maintain than non-native plants, making them a sustainable choice for landscaping.

Creating pollinator-friendly habitats not only helps protect these valuable species but also contributes to biodiversity, enhances the beauty of our surroundings, and supports the health of our planet. So why not grab some regional wildflower seeds and start planting? Your local pollinators will thank you!

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