Concern for pollinators is getting a lot of attention these days, thankfully, but are all the pollinator-supporting programs equally good? As in, supported by science and actually effective?  One glaring example of the lack of scientific support is the increasingly discredited “No-Mow” month campaign from the Xerces Society’s Bee City USA program. Turns out, No-Mow does more harm than good. (See Benjamin Vogt’s big-picture review; Doug Tallamy is also a critic.) No-Mow must have been dreamed up by a PR consultant, because even the single study touted to prove its worth (a small study in Wisconsin) has been withdrawn.

So I’ve been on a hunt to find an alternative to the Bee City program that my city pays to use, and it led me to Pollinator Partnership, the oldest and largest of the pollinator nonprofits. Its online resources are the most comprehensive of any I’ve seen, and they seem to be the most science-based.

I like the looks of its Bee-Friendly Gardening program.

And when I discovered its Pollinator Stewardship Certification program I decided to sign up, determined to learn more and write more authoritatively about:

Topics include an introduction to the wonderful world of pollinators, how they live and thrive, threats to pollinators, and how we all can help. Details will be provided on habitat creation for pollinators in many landscapes including parks, rights-of-way, urban gardens, and farms. Additional information on pollinator identification and how to spread your knowledge will be provided. This course is ideal for home gardeners, land managers (large and small), farmers, and anyone that wants to do more to support pollinators. Join our growing community of Certified Pollinator Stewards!

The course starts in February and entails listening to nine recorded talks, filling out a “short learning forum” to “share take-aways,” (no test), then taking two action items: “completion of one habitat creation action and one outreach or education action.”  I promise to share some of the take-aways right here.

The cost is $150 (tax-deductible) before December 31 and $200 after that.

And organizations like my local Greenbelt-Beltsville Garden Club can be pollinator-certified club if at least two members complete the program. We’ll qualify, so it’ll be a fun club project to spread the word and make things happen locally.

And then there’s Pollinator Pathway

A pollinator program I considered and rejected is Pollinator Pathway, after hearing it explained to my local garden club.  I have no doubt it can do a lot of good, but the process of creating a pollinator pathway is too onerous for our club, and probably even for the town.

Also, consider the message to us gardeners on this PowerPoint slide:

Really? I’d like to see the studies showing that our good old azaleas, hostas, and zinnias are harmful.  I could rant on, but I won’t.  In this post.