It’s an Un-Bee-Lievable Season for the Mountain Lake PBS Pollination Station!

The Mountain Lake PBS Pollination Station is back and blooming in its fourth year on the lawn of 1 Sesame Street—our home base in Plattsburgh, NY.

Each year we tend our garden with love and care, proudly acting as pollinator advocates in our community. The Pollination Station’s four honeycomb shaped garden beds are jam-packed with pollinator-friendly plants, providing food in the summer and shelter during winter for butterflies, birds, and bees.

At the end of the fall, we cleaned up the garden by removing dead stems and foliage and trimming back the hollow, woody stalks of many of the native plant species. Now, deep into springtime, we’re focused on frequent weeding and occasional watering, and have dotted the garden with our signature brand of bunny deterrent: shiny, metallic pinwheels.

It’s great to see many of the plants starting to thrive, budding with life and color. Purple waves of flowering Wild Blue Phlox stretch across the garden beds and the Nodding Onions are already bushy and dense. Swamp Milkweed has begun shooting up between old stalks, reaching to the sun and preparing to grow tall all summer long. Some of the newest additions to the garden, housed in a fourth bed built at the end of last summer, are also making an early appearance: Golden Ragwort erupt with tiny, yellow flowers while the Helen’s Flower grows hearty stems.

Despite all this new life, the long, hard winter has caused some casualties in our little garden too. Cardinal Flower, Great Blue Lobelia, and pockets of Clustered Mountain Mint are struggling to take hold or have altogether vanished. We hope they’ll return for another season, but if they don’t, we’ll look forward to adding new, exciting pollinator species in their place later this summer.

As the summer marches on, we’re all abuzz as our buds blossom, awaiting the flying, hopping, or walking visitors who decide to pop by! Be sure to check back in for more updates on the Pollination Station with our Learn & Play blog and on social media.

In the meantime, keep scrolling to learn more about what pollinator gardens are, how you can start your very own, and activities to encourage a passion for gardening and environmental stewardship in your family.

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What Is a Pollinator Garden?

A pollinator garden features flowers that provide nectar or pollen to a variety of pollinating insects, like bees, butterflies and moths. Native flowering plants – ones that come from the geographic area a garden is in – are best, and pesticides and other chemicals should be avoided when caring for them. In the Adirondacks this could include bee balm, milkweed, white turtlehead, mountain mint, and phlox. These gardens are beautiful and can help attract birds and other wildlife too!

Interested in starting your own pollinator garden but don’t know how? Sign up below to receive a free packet of wildflower seeds from the Adirondack Pollinator Project, courtesy of AdkAction.

The Adirondack Pollinator Project

The Adirondack Pollinator Project helps promote the health of pollinators in our ecosystem, provides resources to become a pollinator advocate, and helps communities plant more local wildflowers to help supply pollinators with the food sources they need to survive and thrive. AdkAction partners with The Wild Center, Northern New York Audubon, and Paul Smiths College to support ongoing activities of the Adirondack Pollinator Project.

As part of the project’s Pollinator Garden Assistance Program, AdkAction has used their Mobile Pollinator Garden Trailer to plant community-scale pollinator gardens around the Adirondacks—including the one at Mountain Lake PBS! Don’t miss their annual Adirondack Pollinator Festival for free kids activities, grassland walks, conservation workshops, and to buy native plants for your own garden this summer.

Activities, Books & More

Pollinator Pathway Game

Grades PreK-3
In this all-new Nature Cat game, collect nectar for pollinators like bumblebees and butterflies to help them get the energy they need! Learn some nature-tastic facts all about pollinators and the big part they play in our environment along the way.

Gardening With Kids: How It Affects Your Child’s Brain, Body and Soul

Grades PreK-3
Planting a garden can affect not only your child’s body but also their brain and soul.

Flight of the Pollinators | Wild Kratts

Grades K-2
Join Chris and Martin as they explore the process of pollination and learn the important partnership between plants and animals. Watch these video clips to see how the Kratt brothers uncover the amazing delivery system of plants and their animal partners.

Best Gardening Books for Kids

Grades PreK-6
Inch by inch, row by row, learn to make your garden grow! Browse through these seed-filled reads and explore the outdoors through books.

Reclaiming Habitat for Honeybees

Grades 6-8
Explore the role of pollinators in the ecosystems they are a part of. In this interactive lesson, develop a written response to one of three questions about the importance of honeybees. Gather evidence from reading assignments and video segments about Coal Country BeeWorks’ efforts to reclaim surface mining sites.

Pollination and Community Action: Middle Schoolers Build a Pollinator Garden | Mountain Lake Journal

Grades 6-12
A group of middle school students in the Adirondacks get their hands dirty building a pollinator garden on school property. Follow along as the students learn about the importance of pollinators, pollinator plants, and community action.

For past updates on our Pollination Station, check out our other buzzworthy posts!