Project Pollinator

The Issue
Pollinators are defined as an agent that moves pollen from one plant to another, which leads to successful seed production in plants.  Most of the plants we eat (about 75%) have to be pollinated in order to sustain food production.  In particular, two of our most vital pollinators, butterflies and bees, are in decline.  Although the exact reasons behind this are still being studied, research suggests that the loss of healthy habitat plays a significant role.  The conversion of our natural lands into suburban development has destroyed or fragmented the habitat of butterflies and bees.

As the only land trust in Monmouth County dedicated to the conservation of open spaces, farmland, wildlife, and natural areas, Monmouth Conservation Foundation introduced Project Pollinator in 2016 to raise awareness about this important issue that can be addressed through the protection of our natural habitat that stands at the core of our organizational mission.

You can help!  Create pollinator friendly habitat in your own yards.

Our Seed Packet Campaign
MCF provides free seed packets available every spring around Earth Day that contain a mix of pollinator attracting seeds to help you establish pollinator habitat in your own yard.  The packets contain perennial seeds that are deer resistant, native, and drought tolerant once established.

What seeds are inside?

Packets contain Butterfly Weed (Asclepias), Purple Coneflower (Echinacea), and Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia).  Here is more information about each of these flowering perennials:

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias)  Blooms in June through September. Drought tolerant once established with small orange flowers in clusters that attract butterflies. As part of the Milkweed family, this is an important host food for Monarch caterpillars.    Photo: Toadshade Wildflower Farm

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias)  Blooms in June through September. Drought tolerant once established with small orange flowers in clusters that attract butterflies. As part of the Milkweed family, this is an important host food for Monarch caterpillars.    Photo: Toadshade Wildflower Farm

Eastern Purple Coneflower (Echinacea) Blooms from July through October. Heat and drought tolerant with pink flowers and spiky centers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds.                         Photo: Toadshade Wildflower Farm

Eastern Purple Coneflower (Echinacea)
Blooms from July through October. Heat and drought tolerant with pink flowers and spiky centers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

                        Photo: Toadshade Wildflower Farm

Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) Blooms in June through August. Features yellow petals with black center that attracts butterflies.                          Photo: Toadshade Wildflower Farm

Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)
Blooms in June through August. Features yellow petals with black center that attracts butterflies.


                         Photo: Toadshade Wildflower Farm

Planting Instructions for Seeds:
Seeds can be planted outside after the last frost date for Zone 7.  In Monmouth County this is approximately May 15th.  Next, select a location that gets at least six hours of sunlight.  Seeds can also be sown in a pot or started indoors before the last frost date for a head start.

Gently remove seeds from the packet and scatter on top of the soil.  Some people prefer to mix the seeds with sand for better seed coverage visibility.  Lightly compress the seeds into the soil without covering them.  Wildflower seeds such as these need direct sunlight to germinate.  By sowing directly on top of the soil, you are mimicking how they would be naturally sown in the wild.  

Want more plant information? Here are more examples of pollinator attracting plants provided by Pinelands Nursery