Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

May 2018

Americans Support Pollinator Health, And Parks Can Help

By Chandler Garland

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) recently conducted a poll of Americans about pollinator conservation. About 94 percent of all American's agree that the promotion of pollinator health should be a priority across the United States, with the highest support coming from the Western and Northwestern regions of the country.

Broken down further, the poll found that the largest proponents (96 percent) of promoting pollinator health are those Americans from the baby boomer generation. Gen Xers follow close behind with 95 percent agreeing with the prioritization of pollinator health, and millennials come in at 91 percent.

Pollinators—such as honeybees, butterflies and other insects—are not only vital to the flowering plants in a region but are crucial to the overall health of entire ecosystems. They also play a large role in the economics of American agriculture. Pollinator activity is valued at $24 billion annually in the United States alone. Promoting pollinator health includes protecting against the decline and death of pollinators by increasing their habitats.

In the past few years, bee and monarch populations have seen scary rates of decline due to the lack of native plants in both commercial and private landscaping, the loss of natural habitats to invasive species and commercialization, and modern landscaping practices. As the largest landowners of public lands in most jurisdictions, park and recreation departments may be one of the most important stewards of natural resources and protectors of biodiversity in the nation.

According to a different report issued by the NRPA about the role of parks in addressing the effects of climate change, more than 70 percent of park and rec agencies protect and manage wildlife and wildlife habitat. The report found that 52 percent of these agencies foster public engagement and education, as well. This includes the promotion of pollinator health.

“More and more communities are taking the necessary steps to protect pollinators from extinction,” said Barbara Tulipane, NRPA president and CEO. “Many of these efforts are led by local park and rec agencies that understand the importance of environmental protection and conservation. NRPA is proud to support these efforts, as well.”

As part of this pursuit, the NRPA supports the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, which promotes the planting of pollinator gardens across the United States. By their count, since the beginning of the program 600,000 pollinator gardens have been planted nationwide. NRPA is also a member of the National Pollinator Garden Network (NPGN), a nationwide nonprofit coalition fighting the decline of pollinator species.

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