SOUTHINGTON — Conservationists are working to promote pollinator pathways despite the cancellation of a kick-off event this spring.
The effort is aimed at getting local residents to plant native, pollinator-friendly plants and trees, avoid pesticides and rethink the size of lawns.
Shari Guarino, Southington Land Trust treasurer, has been coordinating the local program although the effort is nationwide.
“The insect population of the world is down by a huge amount, a scary amount. We really have to help them,” Guarino said. “Without pollinators, there’s no food.”
The goal is to have pollinator-friendly plants throughout town, providing food for certain types of insects, bats and birds. It’s also intended to reduce the size of grass lawns, which Guarino feels provide nothing to the environment.
“Every year we make it smaller,” she said of her lawn. “We make the flower beds bigger, we plant something here or there.”Plantings along the trail
To kick off the effort, Guarino and others had planned to do plantings earlier this year near the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail.
“We got ground to a screeching halt by the pandemic,” she said. “We had a big event planned for April where we were going to roll out this whole program but that didn’t happen.”
Guarino still has the plants, gray birch trees and chokeberry bushes, at her house. She’s hoping to hold a smaller gathering to plant them this weekend. She got town permission to plant near the trail just north of the Milldale Station.
Late last year, Guarino helped establish a pathway at the town-owned Novick property off Flanders Road. One of the benefits of native plants, she said, was that they require no maintenance once established.
Bill Knoegel, Southington Land Trust president, said the group is working with the town and other conservation groups around the state.
“We’re also trying to tie in the pollinator paths with town land and some of the tracts that we own as well,” he said.Pollinator pathway signs
For residents who join in the effort, Guarino is selling signs that designate a property as a pollinator pathway. She’s sold about 40 so far.
Conservation Commission chairman James Sullivan said encouraging pollinator pathways doesn’t fall under the commission’s purview but that he supports the mission.
“I have my little sign,” Sullivan said. “I treat my yard accordingly with the pollinator pathway recommendations.”