In April, the Texas Butterfly Ranch announced a plan to create 300 new pollinator garden habitats for San Antonio’s 300th birthday. Since, we’ve been working with community collaborators to reach our 300 garden goal in this Tricentennial year by October 21, when we stage our 2018 Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival.
Bumble bee on Mountain Laurel –Photo by Monika Maeckle
The 300for300 initiative is our answer to Mayor Ron Nirenberg’s recommitment to the National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) Mayor’s Monarch Pledge last fall.
San Antonio was the first city in the nation to become a Monarch Champion, pledging to execute all 24 of the NWF’s recommended action items to increase pollinator habitat. One of the items on that list was to conduct a community wide pollinator gardening initiative.
We took a divide and conquer approach to reaching the 300 goal in our city’s Tricentennial year. Plant 30 pollinator habitats in each of San Antonio’s 10 city council districts, making for an easy 300 total gardens.
To date, 67 individuals and organizations have pledged to create habitats. Here’s the numbers, broken up by city council district.
District 1 – 19 habitats
District 2 – 9 habitats
District 3 – 4 habitats
District 4 – 0 habitats
District 5 – 1 habitat
District 6 – 1 habitat
District 7 – 7 habitats
District 8 – 13 habitats
District 9 – 8 habitats
District 10 – 5 habitats
TOTAL: 67 HABITATS
That’s a great start, but we still have work to do. Another 223 gardens will be needed to reach our goal by October 21.
Congrats to Districts 1 and 8 for leading the pollinator pack with double digit numbers early in the game. Districts 4, 5, and 6 will hopefully get on board soon to create places to rest, refuel and reproduce for the insect pollinators that make one of every three bites of our food possible. We’re confident that our community of citizen scientists, gardeners, and pollinator advocates will work together to reach our goal.
When we launched 300for300, we also announced our intention to create yard signs to explain and call attention to the pollinator habitats.
One of the common challenges to the acceptance of pollinator gardening is the “messy stage” these gardens go through when dried seed heads and brown stalks remain in the yard or habitat. While unsightly to some, these provide food and shelter for wildlife. A sign communicates the method to the apparent madness. Our signs, pictured below, are now available for purchase in our shop.
You may recall our poll administered in May in which the community weighed in. The result, above, merged the best traits of the top two sign designs under consideration.
The aluminum signs hold up to the Texas heat and extreme weather and can be mounted on a stake, hung on a wall, displayed in a window, or on a wire fence or gate. The sign’s educational message greets the whole community, showing off your garden pride and spreading the message of pollinator advocacy to the world.
Special thanks to the six San Antonio City Council representatives who chipped in financially from their City Council Program Funds to help defray costs of our initiative. Heartfelt thanks go to
Honorable Roberto Treviño, District 1
Honorable Rebeca Viagran, District 3
Honorable Ana Sandoval District 7
Honorable Manuel Palaez,District 8
Honorable John Courage, District 9, and
Honorable Clayton Perry, District 10.
Special thanks to Mayor Ron Nirenberg for his ongoing commitment to protecting pollinators.
Ready to get your hands dirty? Read about our guidelines and recommendations, then sign up to plant a pollinator habitat. The birds, bees and butterflies will thank you. Also, keep an eye on our sign up page. Live map showing off the location of every pollinator habitat in the city coming soon.
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