Apr 2016

Green Roofs and Pollinator Pathways

We all like to enjoy the fresh produce of summer – my favorites are raspberries, peaches and tomatoes ripe off the vine – but we rarely consider the hardworking pollinators that keep our taste buds happy.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says that 71 out of 100 crop species that provide the majority of our global food supply are bee-pollinated. With pesticide-use contributing to Colony Collapse Disorder and the habitat loss of other important pollinators such as ants, spiders, beetles, moths, butterflies and birds – our scrumptious summer produce might be more precious than we think.

The Pollinator Pathway project, founded by Sarah Bergmann, was originally developed “as an iconic design project for the city of Seattle. It’s a one-mile long corridor that connects Seattle University’s campus to a small woods called Nora’s Woods.” This simple connection of green space within the city of Seattle has expanded into a new way of thinking about urban planning. The goal is to connect fragmented landscapes between urban, suburban and rural areas, while incorporating principles of ecology in the design.

“Rural farmers aren’t the only people who depend on the services of bees and other pollinators. City dwellers do, too. Most plants in community gardens, parks, and urban natural areas rely on bees,” according to the Great Pollinator Project based in New York City.

However bees, and other pollinators, are disappearing at an alarming rate. From 1971 to 2006, approximately one-half of the United States honeybee colonies vanished. With food production and the health of ecosystems largely relying on the work of pollinators, our way of approaching urban design must change.  

We can all help pollinators two ways: provide habitat and avoid pesticide use.

1. Grow an organic balcony garden of plants native to your region, or encourage your building to install a green roof. 2. Green roofs have been proven to act like stepping stones in the concrete jungle of a city for flying insects such as bees. They act as connecting habitat on a pollinator pathway. Contact SolTerra for more information on installing a green roof.  
Design your space as a stop on a pollinator pathway and enjoy the fresh tastes of summer produce!

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