What's the buzz?
Did you know that 1 in 3 bites of food is made by pollinators? Or that pollinators contribute more than $24 billion dollars to the US economy? Clearly, we need pollinators, so why aren’t we doing something to address their decline? Well, that’s where the Botanic Buzzline comes in:
Our project hopes to connect people, plants, and pollinators on Cornell's campus. We want to build a 980 square foot flowering pathway stretching from Tower Road to the Cornell Botanic Gardens that attracts native pollinator species and guides visitors into the gardens. But why native pollinators?
First, pollinators comprise a huge array of species; far more than just butterflies and bumblebees. Native pollinators, specifically, are those insects and animals that have existed somewhere without human introduction. As such, many of them have spent thousands of years co-evolving with local plants to be optimally suited for pollinating them. Honeybees, for example, aren’t actually native to upstate New York, and therefore are less effective than certain native species at transferring pollen from one indigenous flower to the next.
Additionally, native bees in the wild seem to be protected from the worldwide disease known as "colony collapse disorder;" the same one that is killing honeybees by the thousands in much of the United States. By increasing numbers of native pollinators, we help prepare for the devastating impacts that climate change and pesticide use may have on other pollinating species.
So how are we planning to attract native pollinators? Well, by planting native plants! We're looking to buy perennials that don't require constant replanting and come back stronger from year to year. These flowers will be selected for a variety of bloom times and nectar sources so as to be suitable for as many pollinators as possible. This will ensure that animals are attracted to the Botanic Gardens during all pollinating seasons, and that even less established pollinators will have the opportunity to reach nectar that they can access.
We hope that, with your help, we can raise the $10,000 necessary to buy plants, make informative signage along the pathway, and pay for the crucial first three years of maintenance when perennials need the most care. This project has endless opportunities to impact Cornell at large—it increases local biodiversity, acts as a case study for collaborative research, and makes Ithaca just a little more 'gorges.'
You can make a difference. The future is buzzing!