The Elk Rapids Garden Club supports our local environmental conservation organizations, projects, and interests! Learn more about our efforts in our newsletter, The Scoop, and how you can help our local pollinators, birds, native plants, water systems, and more.
Bees are critical to our environment, including for our food supply. Yet we often hear that bees are in trouble. To learn more about ways you can help locally, connect with The Grand Traverse Beekeepers Club — part of the Crosshatch Center for Art & Ecology’s Beekeepers Guild.
Butterflies are diurnal, pollinating a wide variety of flowers that open during the day. Their populations are on the decline due to humans destroying habitats and migratory nectar corridors, emitting pollution and the misuse of pesticides. The GT Butterfly House & Bug Zoo provides our community with a fun, educational place for the whole family to learn about the wonders of butterflies and their bug relatives. They are committed to teaching generations of people the importance of arthropods!
Michigan Pollinator Initiative
Interested in becoming a pollinator champion? The mission of Michigan State University’s Michigan Pollinator Initiative is to develop a coordinated research, education, extension, and policy driven effort to address priority issues related to pollinators and pollination.
Saving Birds Thru Habitat
Many bird species, particularly the migratory songbirds that travel back and forth between North and South America each year, are in serious decline. Kay and Jim Charter of Omena, MI teach us how to make a difference in own backyards by simply using our own property wisely.
Bringing Nature Home
Because nearly 85% of the U.S. is privately owned, our private properties are an opportunity for long-term conservation if we design them to meet the needs of the life around us. Professor Doug Tallamy teaches us ways to support diverse pollinator populations and complex food webs, manage our watersheds, and much more.
Support Hummingbird Migration
The hummingbird’s diet consists of nectar from flowers (red is the favorite color), small insects such as aphids and spiders, and sometimes even pollen and sap. They enjoy shallow water, preferably with movement, like a small waterfall or gently flowing water. Shelter and protection are also important to attracting hummingbirds. Dense foliage of trees provides not only protection but also a source of insects and the protein they provide. Trees and large shrubs provide a resting place between meals at the feeder or flowers.
Grow a Goldfinch Garden
With the right flowers and plants, you will nurture and enjoy the company of beautiful goldfinches! Goldfinches prefer open areas filled with seed-producing plants and feeders. A banquet display of asters, sunflowers, thistle, black-eye Susan, purple coneflower, goldenrod and Joe Pye weed will attract these backyard guests. Once established, you will notice more seed feeders enjoying the feast. A parade of Chickadees, House finches, Nuthatches, Sparrows, Redpolls, Tufted titmice, Pine siskins and Dark-eyes juncos will flock to your yard. It’s never too early to start thinking about our garden strategies. Planning ahead will pay off for you and our feathered friends!
Native Plant and Environmental Conservation
While much has been done to promote awareness of the importance of all pollinators to the overall health of our eco-system and to Michigan’s agriculture/floriculture industry, it is incumbent on each and every one of us to stand up and BEE counted for recognizing and acting upon the fundamental importance of pollinators and what each of us CAN do, as individuals, to provide pollinator habitat, preserving and protecting one of our most important natural resources.
Please help support the local organizations who work hard to preserve our native plants and environment — visit their websites by clicking on their logos below.
There are many things we can all do to create or improve pollinator habitats:
• Minimize or eliminate the use of pesticides in our gardens.
• Amend the soil to make it healthier.
• Plant native plants when possible.
• Recognize the need for and plant both host and nectar plants for a variety of pollinators.
When we measure our progress in creating pollinator habitat (pollinator gardens), we acknowledge and celebrate the impact that each of us has on creating a better environment. Therefore, a key tangible and measurable component of Michigan Garden Clubs’ effort over the next two years is to register our gardens in the National Pollinator Garden Network.
Michigan Garden Clubs offers many specific programs and activities designed to help draw attention to the importance of pollinators so that together we can create an environment where they can thrive.
We have an impact when we teach not only our youth about pollinators, but also our communities, and our legislators. While more difficult to measure than the number of pollinator gardens created, these efforts have a huge potential to make a lasting difference and fundamental change in how the public thinks about pollinators and connects them with the health of our environment. To that end, we promote working with youth, teaching them an appreciation of gardening and the environment. We support various youth initiatives that teach an awareness and appreciation of protecting the world.
The Great Lakes contain one-fifth of the Earth’s freshwater, and we play an important local roll in keeping these lakes clean and healthy. The following organizations focus on sustainable management of freshwater systems, sustainable farming methods, preserving wetlands, improving road crossings, establishing riparian buffers, and establishing rain gardens. They are tireless advocates for our local water systems! Please help support these critical local organizations — visit their websites by clicking on their logos below.