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Pollinator project promotes biodiversity

Submitted Photo Volunteers plant a garden in southwest Minot Sunday as part of the Minot Pollinator Project.

Volunteers with the Minot Pollinator Project were planting gardens Sunday with the aim of both boosting the local ecosystem and enhancing the beauty of vacant flood acquisition properties.

Two gardens were planted Sunday in southwest Minot and a third is planned in northeast Minot under a partnership with the Minot Park District and City of Minot.

“They are all flood protection areas of the city so they are areas that can’t really be built on,” said Tim Baumann, spokesman for the Minot Pollinator Project.

The project expands on a previous Adopt-a-Lot program coordinated by AmeriCorps VISTA workers with the Minot Park District and Minot Young Professionals. The Magic City Lions Club planted a pollinator garden in the 1500 block of Burdick Expressway East as part of that program in 2017.

The impetus for the latest project came from individuals who have been involved in the Facebook group, Environmentally Minded People of Minot.

For the current planting efforts, Lowe’s Garden Center provided volunteers with pollinator kits that include eight species of native perennials suited to North Dakota’s climate and recommended by the North Dakota State University Extension Service. Baumann said the perennials were selected based on aesthetics, hardiness and the intent to have different plants in bloom from mid-May to mid-September.

Bauman noted 25% of the food supply comes from pollinated plants, which highlights the need to have pollinators around to ensure a resilient ecosystem.

“One of the big environmental threats we face around the world is loss of biodiversity,” Baumann said. “The overall aim of this project is to provide some habitat for those pollinating insects and some dedicated areas where we are building out habitat for them. We know this won’t solve everything, but we know it’s an important part of the puzzle of supporting biodiversity in the community.”

Volunteers will be watering and weeding throughout this summer to establish the gardens, he said. Going forward, there will be maintenance required each spring, but the gardens should be self-sustaining. Funds are set aside for any needed plant replacements.

Project funds have come from a number of individual donors. Donors include two young siblings, a fifth grader and second grader, who held a bake sale and obtained matching funds to provide $1,000 to the project.

Several businesses also have supported the project, including corporate sponsors SRT and Hess.

The three pollinator garden sites are in the 1300 block of 28th Street Southwest, in the area of Souris Valley Golf Course; 502 12th St. SW, east of the Minot Water Treatment Plant and north of Burdick; and 310 9th Ave. NE near Lowe’s Garden Center. Baumann said additional sites may be added in the future.

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