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!

The program continued with six additional sites 2016, which were revisited in 2017 for assessing pollinator counts and replacement of some damaged plots, and expanding to 12 additional sites in 2018, some in fire-ravaged areas.  With all of these plantings, 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, and have expanded from the Sonoma Valley, to west Sonoma County, and now into central Sonoma County from Larkfield through Windsor.   Our NCRC&DC conservationist directs the “Bee Patches” program, connecting Girl Scout troops with farms. 

The Girl Scouts have planted beautiful and creative Bee Patches that added considerable new pollinator habitat.  Representatives of the Milo Baker chapter of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) started to work with us in 2016, and have picked out many of the plants for the Girl Scouts to use for their projects.  With their support and that of a cadre of volunteers, our projects are expanding. 

We are seeking ongoing funding for this program, and plan to expand into Marin, Mendocino, and Lake Counties in 2019. 

 

 

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