The new Grow Wise, Bee Smart website, growwise.org, was recently launched as a key component of the horticulture industry’s Bee and Pollinator Stewardship Initiative, which was created to provide leadership and guidance to the industry on pollinator health. The site serves as the communications hub for the latest research and developments related to the role horticulture plays in supporting pollinator health.
Grow Wise, Bee Smart currently features information on the importance of bees and pollinators, threats to their health and steps everyone can take to improve habitat and forage. Links to the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge and Pollinator Partnership further guide retail and landscape firms and their customers on how to plant and register new gardens and habitats for pollinators.
As the Grow Wise, Bee Smart stewardship program for plant production is launched, and as funded and directed research yields results and guidance, the site will feature timely new information and insights.
Progress On The Bee And Pollinator Stewardship Initiative
The horticulture industry’s Bee and Pollinator Stewardship Initiative has three goals:
- Fund and guide research to answer urgent questions regarding impact of pest management practices and bee and pollinator attractiveness of the major plants we grow and sell
- Develop a plant production stewardship program based on best practices
- Partner with other interested groups to improve and expand pollinator habitat and forage
Great progress is being made on all fronts. The Horticultural Research Institute (HRI) has directly funded five related research projects totaling $160,100. AmericanHort and the Society of American Florists (SAF) helped to secure another $272,000 for a priority project that received special Farm Bill funding. The American Floral Endowment (AFE) is funding a new research project to examine the health of honey bees on ornamental plants following treatment with neonicotinoids and other systemic insecticides.
A grower and scientist task force has developed key components for the stewardship program. Also, AmericanHort was one of eight founding partners of the National Pollinator Garden Network, which in early June launched the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge.
“Horticulture, the health of pollinators, and the success of our industry are intertwined,” says Harvey Cotten, past president of HRI and a leader in the Bee and Pollinator Stewardship Initiative. “We are the original green industry, and our plants and expertise can make a difference for bees, butterflies and other pollinators.”