We began a Pilot Program in the Sonoma Valley in 2013 to plant pollinator habitat.  The first, small effort was on Beltane Ranch with one troop of Boy Scouts.  In Spring of 2015, we worked with six Girl Scout troops to plant pollinator habitat on several landscapes including Beltane Ranch again, Benziger Winery, Bedrock Vineyards, Arrowood Vineyard and other sites--check out this neat photo collage made by one of the troops planting a patch inside an old fountain.  The girls designed the elements of "natural" habitat in an disused round concrete fountain, prepared the native bee "home" structures and enriched the surrounding soil to add an artistic flair to their patch!

With each program implementation, the NCRC&DC works with Girl Scout troops to teach them the importance of pollinators at each farm site and then guides them on simple pollinator conservation steps to design their Troop Bee Patch.

Our pollinator patches are thriving (one 2015 plot is shown below).  In 2016, we worked with Girl Scouts again, this time in west Sonoma County near Sebastopol. Our NCRC&DC conservationist directed the Fall 2016 “Bee Patches” program, connecting Girl Scout troops with West County farms.  Beet Generation Farm and Kitchen, Confluence Farms, Two Belly Acres, Williams Ranch in Sebastopol, Apple-a-Day Ratzlaff Ranch and Hartford Family Winery in Forestville planeted habitat.

The West County Girl Scouts planted beautiful and creative Bee Patches that added over 1,000 square feet of new pollinator habitat along western Sonoma County farms this Fall.  Representatives of the Milo Baker chapter of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) have picked out many of the plants for the Girl Scouts to use for their projects, and are providing support to the project.  Click here for the Press Release for more details on the planting project: Press Release on West County Habitat Planting 2016.

 

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