(West Point, Ga) Every fall, the Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT) produces and distributes thousands of wildflower seed packets to educate, raise awareness and increase plantings statewide. In 2016, the seed packets will be produced in partnership with The Ray. The packets feature a pollinator mix of regional, native wildflower and pollinator plants.
Pollinator species, which include bees, butterflies, birds and bats, are in significant decline around the world. Wintering monarch butterflies, for example, have declined over 75 percent since the mid-1990’s, according to the Chattahoochee Nature Center. The National Pollinator Garden Network estimates that pollinators are responsible for one out of every three bites of food that we eat daily because over two-thirds of our crops are dependent on pollinators. More nectar and pollen sources provided by flowering plants and trees are necessary for reviving the health and populations of pollinators.
Georgia DOT won the 2016 North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) Pollinator Roadside Management Award, after being nominated by The Ray. The award recognizes transportation agencies that lead the field in pollinator-friendly roadside practices, which can play a significant role in boosting pollinator habitat nationwide, including habitat for honeybees and the monarch butterfly.
In 14 years, Georgia DOT has planted approximately 2,700 acres of wildflowers statewide using funds from the sale of wildflower-themed vehicle license plants. You can plant your own pollinator garden, courtesy of Georgia DOT and The Ray—Just visit a state visitor information center near you. (map of state VIC: http://www.exploregeorgia.org/visitor-information-centers)