Museum & Pollinator Habitats
Creating Pollinator Habitat
For the most part we will only be creating pollinator habitats in commerce parks, and school yards. They will be well maintained, and nothing like a natural field or meadow. We will create large beds by covering the ground with a deep layer of mulch (at least one foot deep).
Schools and businesses will earn credits to have free pollinator habitats created from museum visitors that select them as the referrer. Half of the credits earned will be used to create the pollinator habitat (plants, mulch, top soil, and labor), while the other half will be held back and used to help maintain the pollinator habitat for the next five years.
When a school is responsible for referring 1000 visitors to the park, a $5000 pollinator habitat will be created, and $1000 will be spent maintaining the habitat over the next five years. Now imagine what it will be like when a school is responsible for referring 10,000 visitors to the museum!
Since our primary goal is to create pollinator habitats in commercial business districts (and at local schools), our approach could be seen as somewhat of a compromise to what occurs naturally in undisturbed areas. Here is what I mean:
A totally natural pollinator habitat would normally consist of a varied combination of grasses, sedges, and wildflowers, as well as often many non native weedy herbaceous plants. This natural habitat would be considered overgrown, weedy, and generally unacceptable when located in developed commercial or business district landscapes.
On the other hand, the typical landscapes currently maintained in these areas are quite sterile with all of the grass treated to kill all weeds, and most of the flowers and shrubs are non natives that generally have little benefit to native pollinators.
Our purpose will be to create attractive, well maintained, heavily mulched plantings of native wildflowers so as to create a habitat that is both aesthetically pleasing to the community, and at the same time beneficial to native pollinators. Many of our native wildflowers grow quite spindly and sparse among heavy competition from grasses and non native weeds. However when the competition is removed, and these native plants are well watered, fertilized, and heavily mulched, these native wildflowers can put on quite a spectacular display of beauty.
Available resources will include collected leaves, wood chips, and grass clippings, as well as a variety of other materials that are generally available in abundance at no cost. (read more below)
Our primary method for creating pollinator habitat will be to bury all areas to be planted with a deep layer of woodchips, leaves, compost, and/or other organic materials. Next, the deep mulch material will be pulled back, and pollinator attracting plants will be placed on a small portion of topsoil, with an additional amount of topsoil placed around the roots. This method significantly reduces the amount of high quality top soil required, as well as reducing the amount of water and weeding needed.
Once "planted", the bed(s) will be top dressed with a layer of dark compost or well aged wood chips to provide an aesthetically pleasing appearance. Additional material will be added as a top dressing as needed.