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Pollinator Pathways Gaining Ground from Washingtonville to Newburgh & All Across America -Part One

It's Pollinator Week!! Time to get your garden GOING and GROWING

By Edie Johnson

Pollinators have a lot of power, and this week, and this month they take Center Stage. Most people know what pollinators do (keep reading for more info on that) and that as land gets developed and the numbers of wildflowers, vegetables and other plants that have pollination as part of their growing process are dwindling. What we have learned more recently is that especially with the number of pollinating bees that we have lost due to"Colon Ccollapse Disorder", we are at risk of losing our food sources if we don't do something about it.

Therefore multiple agencies and locations are recognizing June 19-June 25 as POLLINATOR WEEK. and now the month of June is being recognized by the nation as POLLINATOR MONTH. By supporting this army of critters( including an endless variety of birds, flies, wasps, beetles, bats, moths, and butterflies to name just a few, we can help protect our food sources forours and the next generation.

How does it work - Pollination is the act of transferring pollen grains from the male anther of a flower to the female stigma. The goal of every living organism, including plants, is to create offspring for the next generation. You may be surprised to know that not only do insects move the pollin around while stopping for a drink of sweet nectar, but the wind helps by jiggling flowers such that the pollin can be moved to the stigma. Even a human hand, or an animal passing by and brushing the flower or vegetable plant can cause pollination to happen. This is important for growers who keep plants inside to know, so they can assist when the natural vectors are absent. Growers, Wanna-Be Farmers and even new gardeners should remember that variety is the spice of life. Just as inbreeding has negative effects on dogs, horses and humans, plants grow much hartier when they are epoed to a variety of pollin, whether carrie from plant to plant by a bird, butterfly or the wind.

In perfect timing, and even before many of the national groups had announced it, the Village of Washingtonville started planning a Pollinator Pathway at the recommendation and work of Jean Galli and Shivon Cham. Shivon is a horticulturist and owner of LeVonne Insporations flower shop. She knows the ins and outs of choosing plants that can survive in the middle of a downtown area. Large street-sized red clay pots line the way through the center of the Village, offering plenty of plants to assist. They have plans for additional horticulture related events for the Park as well. And a crucial element is the Village of Washingtonville's Highway Department's willingness to bring a water truck around to keep them watered and healthy. After the pollinators finish their work in Washingtonville they may help grow your Summer watermelons and tomatoes and then continue their travel.

"Empress of Dirt" - Some vegetables that require pollination,

and others that don't.

Agencies and Blogs Helping Pollinators

From Pollinator Pathways, to Cornell Extension Agency, which shares how the State of New York is planting pollinators along major highways, to the National Wildlife Federation which describes how you can certify your wildlife garden asn official "Wildlife Habitat", you can order butterfly and pollinator plants, watch webinars for pollinator gardening, read recommendations about how growing NATIVE wildlife is one of the most important successful ways to pollinate widely, and participate in the online news stories like the Empress of Dirt Blog (See Part Two tomorrow) for some of their clues to successful gardening) . Pollination of native flowers is not only a more efficient way to pollinate because of their numbers and early blooms, but also because they have disease resistant qualities that transfer to other plants and even humans.

Newburgh is also on the "Help the pollinators" bandwagon,. the following being contributed by the Newburgh Parks Conservancy The Environmental Justice Fellowship Invites You to "Meet the Fellows". Newburgh’s Environmental Justice Fellowship has begun its third year of work with a wonderful cohort of four new Fellows and we invite the community to meet them all in person 10:00am-2:00pm on June 24th at Safe Harbors Green, 97 Broadway, Newburgh NY 12550. The Conservancy is happy to partner with Safe Harbors of the Hudson and Common Ground Farmers Market on this event to highlight National Pollinator Week and introduce the EJ Fellows who will be there with great enthusiasm, information, community surveys and ideas for getting more people engaged with the Fellowship.

While beginning to learn about a range of EJ issues, the Fellows have been watering and weeding recently planted trees, developing community outreach and research projects, and mapping out a social media campaign for the summer and fall. They’re eager to interact with the community and to hear what Newburghers have to say about environmental restoration and our urban forest. This year’s new recruits to the Fellowship - Eileen Corrales, Emily Alta, Nicole Villachica and Tyrese Billups - will share information and demonstrations about the importance of trees and how concerned residents can help care for them. “Don’t miss this chance to meet four amazing young adults dedicated to giving back to their beloved City and actively improving our environment, public health and community cohesion,” says Kathy Lawrence, Chair of the Greater Newburgh Parks Conservancy and manager of the Environmental JusticeJ Fellowship Program. “You’ll be inspired by their passion, dedication and knowledge as they help to write a new narrative for Newburgh - one filled with hope and promise.”

The Conservancy centers its work in environmental justice strategies, BIPOC leadership and community engagement, with a focus on overseeing and expanding Newburgh’s Environmental Justice Fellowship Program (EJFP). We oversee this leadership development program to help young adults in Newburgh to build their knowledge and confidence, develop public speaking and leadership skills, and have an immediate, positive, and tangible impact on the environment. The EJ Fellowship program began in 2021 with visionary funding from the Arbor Day Foundation and TD Bank. From its inception, the EJ Fellowship Program has been a collaborative endeavor of the Greater Newburgh Parks Conservancy, Outdoor Promise and Newburgh’s Conservation Advisory Council.

An Important Overview

However, even with all of these laudable and important efforts, which must continue, helping the pollinators resolves only one part of the environmental imbalance and additional focus needs to continue on the other 3 critical fronts.

1. Deforestation, expansion of urban and suburban growth which depletes farmland, parks and gardens

2. Overpopulation and consequent migrations

3. Continued over-reliance on electronics, mechanics, oil and gas in much greater proportion than a more natural and less traveled lifestyle.

The last item (#3) is frequently overlooked. Thee is a group of contemporary individuals trying to become "Minimalists" with a simpler lifestyle. But mostly, people seem to always want more, and new contrivances to make their lives more fun and interesting. But if we don't change our lifestyle ways our lives will become increasingly difficult. Just iImagine , for example, the impact on New York City if even half of the people who commute daily from New Jersey, Upstate New York and Connecticut to NYC were able to make a sufficient, useful and rewarding right in their own hometown.

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