2015 Burpee Pollinator Project
Last June 2014 the President issued a memorandum - Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators (see https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/06/20/presidential-memorandum-creating-federal-strategy-promote-health-honey-b). In response, federal agencies are working together to fulfill the actions defined in the memorandum. The private sector has also expressed interest and offered support, such as the seed donation by Burpee seeds.
Burpee has donated 1 million packages of seeds which will be distributed by USDA and National Park Service. There are 100 packages per box. Each will include pollinator health information. These seeds were selected to be attractive to pollinators. The seeds will be used to expand pollinator habitat and thus contribute to the health of pollinator populations.
Alaska: We distributed the seeds during one of the state fairs (Tanana Valley in Fairbanks). It was UAF day at the fair and we had a 4-H Military Partnerships table manned by military tweens and teens. They handed seeds out and also had a coloring table with coloring pictures about the different 4-H projects and activities. It was very fun! :)
Washington State: This is a report that I just received from I just received from Chelan County which is one of the county’s that were so hard hit by our wildfires this summer. Due to numerous fires, about 50% of the entire county’s population have had to evacuate for fire danger or smoke conditions over the past month. As part of 4-H’s display at the county fair, they had a display about replanting after the fires and using plants what were friendly to pollinators. They had a 4-H Club distributing the wildflower packets as part of that promotion and a fairgoer gave the 4-H club an unsolicited $250 donation to support their club work! Now that was a reaction I never expected!
Georgia: Here is an update from our 4-H agent that supports Fort Gordon (Augusta GA): Brian: Thank you again from A.R.C. 4-H for the pollinator seeds. We are sharing the seeds in several areas. We are working with 4 schools on school gardening programs and are using the seeds to teach the importance of pollinators. Many schools are trying to raise seedlings for transplanting into gardens.
Suzanne Holmes, Agriculture Program Assistant used the seeds to teach a gardening program to blind veterans at the "Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center. I had nine in the class. The veterans come and stay 4 to 6 weeks at the center and learn techniques to adjust to their disability. This includes how to garden. The program included telling them about pollinators and how to prepare the soil and plant the seed." We are working on plans to distribute the remaining seeds through different venues in our county. Two up coming events are a pollinator presentation at a local gardening club presented by Winnie Garrett a 4-H PA and Master Gardener. Distribution of seeds and planting instructions at the Home and Garden Show at the James Brown Arena in early 2016. Being able to share these seeds and the importance of pollinators helps us to continue our work with elementary school gardening programs by allowing us to share the importance of these programs with the residents of our county .
Ohio: We did give some out at a family camp at the end of August.
Wyoming:At the Wyoming State Fair, Burpee Seeds packets were distributed to 200 youth and individuals that participated in 4-H activities at 4-H booth on the midway. Attached to the packets was brief information about the 4-H Military Partnership and how to get involved in Wyoming 4-H. There was a great response in receiving these packets and many families stated they would be using the seeds in their gardens. Burpee Seeds were distributed at an elementary school open house in August. This particular elementary school has a 98% military youth populations. Families were excited to receive the packets especially those that live on base at FE Warren AFB as some of the seeds could be grown inside. At a pre-deployment event for the Wyoming National Guard, families received Burpee Seeds packets and information about the 4-H Military Partnership. Many of the families who received the packets have contacted 4-H in Wyoming about being involved in 4-H. The seeds have been a great way to connect 4-H, gardening, and military families in a fun, no-pressure method.