Pollinator ‘Fields of Dreams’ flourishing on Virginia’s Eastern Shore
Bees, butterflies, birds, bats and many other wildlife species play a critical role in providing food, fiber, fuel and medicine for the global population.
National Pollinator Week, June 22-28, offers a great opportunity to highlight the critical connections between “Pollinators, Plants, People and Planet” in the Commonwealth and beyond.
On Virginia’s Eastern Shore, NRCS staff members have spent the last nine years working with partners and producers to establish a “field of dreams” for pollinators. These beautiful displays of wildflowers may be a long way from the Iowa cornfields of the iconic movie, but the underlying premise of setting the stage for success is very evident in this team effort.
NRCS Private Lands Biologist Bob Glennon figures he has personally shepherded the establishment of about 110 acres on plots of all sizes. Some are fairly visible along major highways and thoroughfares while others are smaller, somewhat hidden plantings.
The clients run the gamut from professional farmers to hobbyists with varying levels of expertise and equipment access.
“A lot of habitats are backyard-size and that’s great, but the large-scale implementation and the interagency coordination needed to achieve it is the real success story here,” said Accomac District Conservationist Jane Corson-Lassiter.
Glennon and Corson-Lassiter have been involved in a few different demonstration projects at the Virginia Tech Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Painter, which focused on building local knowledge of site and seed selection, planting methods and management measures for maintaining a successful habitat.