DURHAM — A new, innovative program between the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension allows gardeners to obtain pollinator-friendly garden certification.  

New England is home to a diverse array of pollinators, including bumble bees, wasps, flies and beetles. Pollinators transfer pollen from the anthers of a flower to the stigma of the same flower or another flower, which is vital to food supply. One of every three bites of food depends on the work of pollinators.

However, declines of insects, native bees and birds are well documented, and habitat loss of pollinators remains a significant driver of those declines.  

To support pollinators and bring more awareness to this important issue, Extension has established a certification through which gardeners must meet specific requirements, including providing food, water and shelter for pollinators, as well as safeguarding pollinator habitat.  

After these requirements are met, gardeners are encouraged to fill out an application form and submit a $10.00 application fee. Once approved for certification, gardeners can purchase a $30 UNH Extension Pollinator-Friendly Garden sign for their garden.

Materials for the program were adapted from Penn State’s pollinator program, developed by Penn State Master Gardeners in collaboration with the Center for Pollinator Research.

Nate Bernitz, UNH public engagement program manager, said, “We’ve seen increased interest in supporting pollinators from New Hampshire’s gardening public. This program allows renters, homeowners, businesses, municipalities, farms and school gardens to not only certify their efforts, but, even more importantly, learn and implement science-based strategies to make a positive impact for pollinators.”

Learn more online at https://extension.unh.edu/pollinator-garden-certification.

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