Pollination Station: Midsummer Update 2023

Third year’s the charm as the Mountain Lake PBS Pollination Station bursts with life on the lawn of 1 Sesame Street—our home base in Plattsburgh, NY.

Our garden is jam-packed with pollinator-friendly plants, providing food in the summer and shelter during winter for butterflies, birds, and bees. As this hot, wet season marches on, not only are the plants growing at a rapid rate but so is the garden itself!

On July 3rd, we added a fourth honeycomb shaped garden bed complete with a variety of new pollinator plant species—from Helen’s Flower to Golden Ragwort—generously donated by AdkAction! We’ve also added identification labels next to each species to help visitors learn about all the native plants they’ll find at the Pollination Station.

This month, the heavy rainfall and weeks of high-heat days have meant big changes for our tiny garden. Spindly stalks of bright red Cardinal Flower creep up between the bushy Clustered Mountain Mint and Swamp Milkweed, heavy with magenta buds breaking through to delicate, pink flowers. The Nodding Onions and Spotted Bee Balm grow bigger by the day while new additions to the garden like the Brown-Eyed Susans have begun to erupt with tiny, yellow flowers. We’ve spotted a variety of pollinators enjoying the garden this summer, including bumblebees, moths, flies, beetles and lady bugs. Fortunately, we haven’t had any garden-variety pests like aphids or rabbits visit just yet – but we’re keeping an eye out for them all!

As the dog days of summer approach, we can’t wait for species like the White Turtlehead to keep climbing towards the sun and vibrant, purple flowers to finally emerge from the dense stalks of the Great Blue Lobelia. Like last year, we anticipate needing to add posts and other supports around the tallest plants that just can’t be tamed. With a little luck, some hard work, and lots of patience, the Pollination Station will continue to thrive all the way through to the fall!

Before the summer’s out come join us at the Pollination Station to see what all the buzz is about! And be sure to check back in for more updates 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.

Jump to article sections:

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 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

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!