Pollinators play an essential role in the life cycle of almost 90% of our earth’s plant species. Whether it is a hovering hummingbird, lumbering beetle, majestic monarch or one of over 350 Minnesota bees visiting a flower in our own backyard, these animals and many others contribute to a process called pollination.
Pollination occurs when the pollen from one plant reaches the stigma of another, usually when carried there by a pollinator. This initiates the formation of seeds, fruits, and nuts that will later be dispersed.
Examples of animals that are pollinators are bees, flies, beetles, butterflies, moths, birds, and bats. Bees have proven to be some of the most effective pollinators, and as a result are the focus of many pollination efforts.
Why the concern?
Recent years have seen a dramatic decline in pollinator species.
Many foods consumed by humans and wildlife rely on pollinators. Without pollinators there is no seed formation, which means future generations of plants and the creatures that rely on them are at risk of decline.
Pesticides, pests and pathogens, loss of habitat, and lack of available nutrition are part of an unfortunately long list of factors which have led to depressed immune systems, a decrease in genetic diversity, and ultimately the decline of pollinator populations.
North Branch’s Pollinator Resolution
The City of North Branch has adopted practices to make our city a place where pollinators can thrive. In May 2017, City Council passed a pollinator resolution. This commits the City to developing even stronger policies and practices to help protect pollinators.
North Branch provides habitat for pollinators through preservation of acres of natural vegetation and through enhancement of natural habitats. City staff rarely uses insecticides in maintaining parks and natural areas.
The City has partnered with several local organizations to help protect and promote pollinator habitat. The North Branch Monarch Group has begun tagging monarchs and has recently planted over 20,000 square feet of pollinator habitat and and the Chisago County Master Gardeners provide educational classes to help create a community which understands and appreciates the importance of pollinators.
"Official" North Branch Monarch Garden Requirements
Requirements to be an official North Branch Monarch Garden:
1. Minimum of 100 square feet (example 10x10)
2. Minimum of 10 species of native flowering plants, including at least:
a. 1 species of milkweed (Common milkweed, Swamp Milkweed, Butterfly Milkweed, Whorled Milkweed)
b. 1 species of native flowering plant that is blooming during each season (spring, summer and fall) to ensure a season-long nectar source.
3. Plants must be free of pesticides, including neonictinoids. Do not treat garden with any pesticides after planting.
If your garden meets these requirements, become an official North Branch Monarch Garden and receive you garden sign by contacting the City of North Branch.
Each garden must be re-certified to to retain its "official" status. Self-certification can be done by taking a photo of the garden with proof of date and submitting it to the City of North Branch.
Official North Branch Monarch Garden Application