Next spring native flower seedlings will provide benefit to pollinators and beautify the landscape

By Chuck Gibson (Note: Cindy Kessler contributed information for this story) 

LOVELAND, OH (September 24, 2021) – Volunteers are laying the groundwork for pollinator gardens at the Loveland U.S. Post Office. 

Volunteers help lay the groundwork for pollinator garden at Loveland Post Office (Provided)

The U.S. Postal Service recognized the beauty and importance of pollinators with their Protect Pollinators stamps issued during 2017. With the help of volunteers, the Loveland Post Office is putting that concept into action by turning grassy areas, constantly in need of mowing, into flower gardens and reforested meadow areas. In spring 2022 the mulched areas will be planted with native seedlings which will benefit pollinators and beautify the area. 

Natural areas such as this provide many benefits compared against mowing grass: lower labor and fuel costs as well as a reduction in the carbon footprint. The gardens will provide food and habitat for pollinators some say are responsible for our very existence. Case in point: insects pollinate 80% of the world’s plants, including 90 different food crops. One of every 3 or 4 bites of food we eat is pollinated by an assortment of bees, beetles, moths, wasps, and butterflies. It turns out these tiny creatures, too often taken for granted, are vitally important to human survival. Cindy Kessler, organizer of the pollinator project at the post office, tells us pollinators are faced with many threats due to loss of habitat from non-native plants and more.

Even small natural areas can help restore pollinator habitats (Provided)

“The worst of all is the use of pesticides and herbicides on our lawns and landscapes,” said Kessler. “Pollinators need our help, and the Loveland Post Office is stepping up-to-the-plate.”

This pollinator garden project is a unique collaboration between the Post Office, community volunteers, and Loveland High School Transition Program students. 

Community volunteers are currently prepping the garden beds by spreading a thick layer of mulch over cardboard, to eliminate the grass without using herbicides. Seeds are being gathered from locally grown, native flowers, to ensure those seeds are pesticide-free. Kessler pointed out commercially available seeds are often coated with pesticides that can make their way into the nectar which can sicken, or even kill, pollinators.

“The high school students will grow the flowers from the seeds being collected now, and the flower seedlings will be planted at the Post Office next spring,” Kessler explained.”This terrific partnership is a wonderful example of Loveland’s abundant community spirit.”

A small, but much-needed pollinator garden (Provided)

Kessler organized the reforestation event at Phillips Pk back in May. The post office saw that, and how much it reduced the cost of mowing – labor, fuel, equipment maintenance,  and they asked her to draw a plan for them. She  got the ball rolling. Peggy Goodwin took it over from there.

“Pollinator populations are in decline due in-large-part to habitat loss/fragmentation,” said Kessler. “This article will help educate the public regarding the need for naturalization and garden development.”

Small pollinator gardens provide much needed ‘habitat islands’ (Provided)

The Post Office gardens and naturalized areas will provide a much needed pollinator habitat. To survive and thrive pollinators require many such ‘habitat islands’ scattered widely across a community. Kessler asks: why not create your own pollinator garden? 

“Large or small, every garden has a huge impact on the well-being of our pollinators,” she said. “Just be sure to buy native plants that are organically grown, avoid the use of pesticides and herbicides, and include a few old logs, or attractive pieces of driftwood, for nesting purposes. Yes, bees need nesting places, too. Happy Pollinator Gardening!”

If you have any questions, comments, or want to get involved, email Cindy Kessler at ckessler@fuse.net.