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Pollinator Pathway

Tompkins County

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Welcome to the Tompkins Pollinator Pathway! We are a collaboration between Cornell University and the Tompkins County community whose mission is to bring people together to plant, conserve, and connect pollinator habitats across the county.   

Our upstate NY county includes cities, towns, and hamlets such as Ithaca, Lansing, Groton, Dryden, Caroline, Danby, Newfield, Enfield, and Ulysses, all situated within a matrix of agricultural and forest lands. Beautiful natural features of the area include Cayuga Lake, numerous renowned gorges and waterfalls, four state parks, a wildlife management area, numerous local parks and many meadows and forests owned or conserved by the Finger Lakes Land Trust. One notable component of the Pathway is the Cayuga Waterfront Trail, 8 miles of ADA compliant multi-use trails dotted with multiple native plantings connecting waterfront destinations along the southern shore of Cayuga Lake. It also connects to the Black Diamond Trail that links Ithaca to Taughannock State Park.  

Our county has strong community-farm linkages supporting our local food system. To help connect these habitats and the species within them, we encourage individuals and organizations at all levels to plant native species, reduce pesticide use, create nesting and overwintering habitats, and spread the word about the value of biodiversity. Pollinators are critical for growing our food crops and sustaining healthy, natural ecosystems. By connecting people with nature and safeguarding local food supplies, the Pathway also supports the health and well-being of people throughout our communities.

Please visit the Thompkins County Pollinator Pathway to learn more - Tompkins Pollinator Pathway – Engaging the Community to Restore Plant and Pollinator Biodiversity (

Photo Credit: Rick Manning

Photo Credit: Rick Manning

Photo Credit: Rick Manning

Cayuga Waterfront Trail

The Cayuga Waterfront Trail is an eight-mile multi-use trail that links the City of  Ithaca’s key waterfront destinations.  The Trail links Stewart Park to Treman Marina following the shores of Cayuga Lake and the Cayuga Inlet,passing Ithaca’s most popular waterfront destinations along the way.  It is a safe and accessible path for strolling, running, biking or inline skating. Whether you walk one mile or roll over all eight miles, the wide paved Trail is the best way to experience all that Ithaca’s waterfront has to offer.

Along the way, you will find custom design Waterfront Trail benches and bike racks; interpretive panels; and many trailheads, overlooks and special gardens comprised of mostly native, pollinator plantings.  The landscape along the trail definitely trends on the wild side to minimize mowing and maintenance and provide cover and food for the bugs and birds that reside or travel through the area.  

Marshy Garden at The Soil Factory

The Marshy Garden project is a living, restorative, and scalable artform. Through cooperative design vision and native plant installation, what was once a monoculture turf lawn and debris dumping ground, is now transforming into an ecological oasis and experimental site for local restoration. The project’s principal objective is to increase flora & fauna biodiversity through the growing, planting, and caring of native plants. This increase in plantings enable the attraction of both generalist and host-specific insect, bird, and mammal species, providing them with edible sustenance and ability to find shelter and nesting sites.  

The project is managed by Ash Ferlito, an artist and skilled bird + moth ecologist, and Brandon Hoak, a trained designer and ecological gardener. They view the project through a lens of sculpture – architecture for animals – developing texture, topography, and interest through diverse plantings and habitat. “By viewing ourselves as a meaningful extension of our environment, knowing the vitality we can bring to it, we continue to work diligently, growing thousands of native plants from seed, planting them by hand, and tending to them as kin”.

To join, click on the link below to view the steps you can take to get involved within the county. Additionally, feel free to get in touch directly by emailing us to be added to our listserv or get more information.  Our email is


Email us at to join or learn more.


The Tompkins County Pollinator Pathway was started by a team at Cornell University in the Departments of Public & Ecosystem Health and Natural Resources & the Environment. They collaborate with community members throughout Tompkins County and with organizations that conserve land and guide policy and actions in individual towns such as the Friends of Stewart Park and the Ulysses Bee Friendly Community Committee. See our website to explore a list of our local partners.

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