Congratulations, pollinator habitat fans! Thanks to you, we surpassed our 2022 goal of registering 1,000 pollinator habitats.

Charles “Chuck” Hobbs of San Antonio became the 1,000th pollinator habitat registered on December 8th–just 72 hours after our final nudge to the community to help us reach our goal. And yes, we’re late in reporting this fact, but to paraphrase Jeff Goldblum’s famous line in Jurassic Park “Life, uh, finds a way,”  “Life also often gets in the way.”

Thanks to the community for rising to the occasion.

Wildflowers in the Blue Skies of Texas Butterfly and Wildflower garden. –Photo by Francis Bell

Hobbs, a retired veterinarian, represented the Garden Club at Blue Skies of Texas West, a senior living center where he lives, when registering the site.

He explained that in addition to a three-acre wildlife conservancy, garden club volunteers oversee 35 individual gardens associated with the 500-acre senior living facility on the western outskirt of San Antonio. The 10′ x 20′ individual gardens include edibles, ornamentals, and pollinator plants.

HAVE YOU VOTED YET? Help us choose the 2023 Unofficial Pollinator Plant of the Year

Like many of us, Hobbs and his club have had a challenging time locating native milkweeds for planting and have utilized Tropical milkweed to attract monarch butterflies and other pollinators.

“We’re trying to switch to native milkweeds,” he said, “but they’re really hard to find.”

He said the group has applied for a grant from the Native Plant Society of Texas and is awaiting word.

Hobbs’ registration of the 1,000th pollinator habitat and the habitats that have since joined the initiative constitute the latest rally by pollinator-friendly San Antonio.

In December of 2015, San Antonio became the first city in the country to agree to act on all 24 recommendations made by the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayor’s Monarch Pledge to increase urban pollinator habitat, making it the first Monarch Butterfly Champion City in the country.  A citywide pollinator gardening initiative was among the action items pledged.

As of this writing, the Texas Butterfly Ranch Pollinator Habitat initiative boasts 1,024 habitats and counting. Thanks to all!

In late 2018, we launched 300for300, an effort to create 300 pollinator habitats for San Antonio’s Tricentennial birthday. We surpassed that goal with 325 gardens pledged and the community agreed to push for 500 gardens by 2020, expanding the effort beyond the Alamo City. By January 1, 2021, 510 pollinator habitats had been pledged and included gardens from Canada to  Mexico, California to Florida, and many points in between.

Chuck Hobbs attaches a pollinator habitat sign to a fence, announcing to the world the intentions of the garden. –Photo courtesy Charles H. Hobbs

Since, the NWF has boosted the recommended requirements to 30 action items, and minimal participation means mayors must commit their cities to three. Cities that commit to eight or more actions will receive special recognition as part of the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayors’ Monarch Pledge Leadership Circle, and those that take on 24 or more of the 30 actions recommended will be recognized as a Monarch Champion.

To date, more than 900 mayors have taken the pledge–including those from cities in Mexico and Canada. Ten cities have achieved Monarch Champion status.

See the updated map above for a look at the broad range of pollinator habitats.

It’s never too late to pledge to plant a pollinator garden. You can do so at this link.

To all those who participated and supported our challenge, thank you again, and Happy New Year!

For those interested in creating a pollinator habitat, check out our resources:

Sign up for the pollinator habitat challenge.

Pollinator habitat requirements.

Plant lists and other pollinator gardening resources.

Pollinator habitat signs are available in our shop. Charles Hobbs got one. Maybe you should, too?

TOP PHOTO: Bees on Jimsonweed, Datura wrightii –Photo by Monika Maeckle

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