Pollination Station: Early Summer Update

Last year, Mountain Lake PBS planted our very own Pollination Station on the lawn of 1 Sesame Street—our home base in Plattsburgh, NY.

Pollinator-friendly plants in three honeycomb shaped garden beds provide food in the summer and shelter during winter for butterflies, birds, and bees. After our first year of watering, weeding, and fending off some persistent bunnies, we are proud to say the garden was thriving!

This summer, we’ve been tending to these native species with water to supplement the many seasonal rain showers, weekly weeding, and by adding more of our signature pinwheels (great at keeping curious critters away).

For the first time, the Wild Blue Phlox bloomed and it was beautiful! Pink and purple flowers dotted the garden beds bursting with color and life. While these early bloomers are already fading into the summer season the Nodding Onions are thriving, Great Blue Lobelia is becoming hearty and tall, and our Swamp Milkweed is developing buds where flowers will soon grow.

But as every gardener knows, despite your best efforts, not all plants will thrive all the time. Unfortunately, this year our Spotted Bee Balm was undertaken by some nearby Clustered Mountain Mint. After carefully uprooting portions of the overreaching mint we now have empty spots to plant some new species where the Bee Balm once stood. Lesson learned: no matter how healthy they were the year before, being diligent at the start of the season by protecting plants with shallow roots can be the best way to keep them alive.

We’ll be looking forward to seeing what else blooms in the next few months and what flying, hopping, or walking visitors 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 and Paul Smiths College to support ongoing activities of the Adirondack Pollinator Project.

As part of the project’s Pollinator Garden Assistance Program, AdkAction uses their Mobile Pollinator Garden Trailer to plant community-scale pollinator gardens around the Adirondacks—including the one at Mountain Lake PBS! Schools, libraries, hospitals, municipal parks, and other community sites are eligible to apply to receive a garden.

Activities, Books & More

Catch Ya Later, Pollinator!

Grades PreK-3
Together with your child, play a game to model and observe how animals transfer pollen as they move from one plant to another. Your child will find out that animals and plants depend on other living things to meet some of their needs.

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.

Urban Habitat: Biodiversity in Our Cities: Video | Nature Works Everywhere

Grades 3-12
In this video, designed to accompany the Habitats and Pollinators Garden Activity Guide, students learn that a garden is a mini-urban ecosystem that can support the health of the entire urban environment.

For more information on pollinators, and how to bee engaged with local conservation efforts, visit our What’s the Buzz on World Bee Day post!