How to start a pathway in your town:

  • Organize a group of interested conservation organizations (garden club, land trust, watershed organization, nature center, town conservation commission…). Create a steering committee of volunteers from each organization.

 

  • Everyone is encouraged to add their property to the Pathway, and some towns begin by seeing who joins first and then encouraging neighbors to join to connect a pathway. Other towns start by identifying open spaces already protected and other land of highest conservation value to the community, and sketching a pathway that connects these areas.  (The Hudson to Housatonic Regional Conservation Partnership (H2H) can provide access to regional strategic conservation maps for planning purposes for groups in the following counties: Fairfield (CT), Westchester, Dutchess, or Putnam (NY)). Then special attention is paid to inviting homeowners along the designated pathway to join. 

 

  • Hold a “kick-off” event at your library or community center to announce the launch of your pollinator pathway. Host speakers to discuss threats to pollinators, the importance of native plants to their survival, alternatives to pesticides… Contact us for speaker list.

 

  • Let us know if you would like to have a page on the Pollinator-pathway.org website where you can list events and contact information for those interested in joining. Consider setting up a Facebook page, like @Wilton Pollinator Pathway, for example.

 

  • Identify areas in your town where invasives could be removed or reduced and natives planted. Work with your town Parks and Recreation Dept, Conservation Commission or land trust to see where work can be coordinated on public land. Invite the community to volunteer at invasive removal and native planting events. Show volunteers which plants are the local invasives and which natives are good replacements, then put everyone to work! This may require some fundraising through donations or grants. So far, these organizations have supported plantings with grants: Sustainable CT, REI, FactSet, Patagonia, CT Ornithological Society, Hartford Audubon, several Rotary Clubs, Garden Clubs, and private foundations. These events help inspire people to make the same changes in their own yards and to spread the word.  Model native plantings show the community what a native landscape can look like. 

 

  • Contact residents in town or in targeted neighborhoods along the pathway and invite them to avoid using pesticides, add native plants to their landscaping, and rethink their lawns.  If your team includes garden club members or other experts on invasive and native species, consider offering home-owners one-time on-site visits to advise on how to add native tree, shrubs, perennials or a meadow and which plants will work best.

 

  • Consider sponsoring workshops for identifying invasives and natives, butterfly walks, and talks on issues related to pollinators.

 

  • Contact the local paper and engage them in helping to publicize the plight of pollinators and what your town is doing to help support them.
     

  • Engage with your local municipality to enact a resolution or proclamation that will provide safety for pollinators. To read about what other municipalities have accomplished click here.

  • Approach schools to see if they are interested in adding pollinator gardens and provide planting lists, handouts, and other information from this website that can be added to the curriculum. 

  • Keep in touch and share ideas! More information on each of these steps is available.  Contact us with questions at Info@pollinator-pathway.