Wildflower project planned to help bees

By LISA CAPOBIANCO

STAFF WRITER

The Conservation Commission is bringing a first-of-its kind project to Plainville to raise awareness about the current threats that pollinators face.

During a recent Town Council meeting, Roberta Lauria, the vice chairperson of the Commission, unveiled details about “Project PEEP (Plainville Enhancing Its Environment for Pollinators).

Through this project, packets of wildflower seeds will be available free of charge this May to all Plainville residents and Plainville businesses interested in planting them. Although the final details are still being finalized, the project is expected to last throughout the growing season.

Volunteers of the Plainville Senior Center will help package these seeds, which will be available at several locations in town, including the Town Clerk’s office and the senior center.

Besides the wildflower seeds, two types of milkweed seeds will be available.

When Lauria initially pitched her idea, the commission fully supported the project.

“What a lot of people don’t realize is, our pollinators, such as our bees and our butter flies, are being decimated in this country,” said Lauria. “The hope is to get the community involved.”

Bees are one kind of pollinator that continues to decline both nationally and globally.

According to a recent report published by the Center for Biological Diversity, more than 50 percent of North American native bee species for which sufficient data is available (1,437) are declining due to factors like habitat destruction and pesticide use. The report also concluded that 24 percent of these species are in serious peril.

Bees not only contribute to seed sets and plant diversity, but also to crop pollination that provides 35 percent of the global food supply—or one of every three bites of food, the report stated.

Every year, native bees species provide more than $3 billion in fruit-pollination services in the U.S. alone, the report stated.

“Usually, about 40 percent of what you eat comes directly from pollinators. People don’t realize how important having pollinators around is, and how it impacts our lives every day,” said Lauria.

After conducting research, Lauria could not find a project like this that existed anywhere in Connecticut or even nationwide.

Through this project, the commission hopes to raise awareness while bringing the Plainville community together for a common cause.

“It would be nice to get everyone working for the same thing,” Lauria told the council. “This is the first [project] of its kind. It doesn’t exist anywhere, so we’d be the first to do it.”

Source:www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/native_pollinators/pdfs/Pollinators_in_Peril.pdf