Pollination Station: Midsummer 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.

Our garden is jam-packed with pollinator-friendly plants, providing food in the summer and shelter during winter for butterflies, birds, and bees. This summer, as we continue to tend and expand our plots, we are making sure the insects and animals that rely on them have everything they need to thrive. It’s been great getting our hands dirty and seeing what surprises are in store. As it turns out, one woman’s weed is another squirrel’s buried treasure!

On June 24th, our friends from AdkAction came by to help us plant some Spotted Bee Balm, replacing the ones that didn’t thrive this year, as well as a couple Cardinal Flowers for a bright pop of red. Lately, our native plant species have been soaking up the sun and occasional heavy rainfall. Paired with weekly weeding and light watering, the garden is growing bigger by the day!

Early bloomers, like the Wild Blue Phlox, have faded away and now we are seeing the Swamp Milkweed bursting with deep pink flowers, bright purple blooms of the Great Blue Lobelia beginning to peak out, and long stalks of White Turtlehead poking up from between the bushy Clustered Mountain Mint.

As the temperature ticks up and the dog days of summer start to close in we’re excited for what else our garden has in store. We expect to see it bursting with life, boasting flowers of purple, pink, red and white, as well as the tallest Nodding Onions we’ve ever seen—something our flying and creepy-crawling visitors to the Pollination Station are sure to enjoy!

August will be the perfect time to continue with hearty watering, consistent weeding, and the likely addition of supports like trellises for the plants that just can’t be contained by our three little honeycomb shaped garden beds (looking at you, Swamp Milkweed).

For your own chance to see the garden in person, sign up for our PBS KIDS Day Celebration on July 30th from 1-3pm. The whole family can take part in fun, hands-on activities and crafts, enjoy snacks out on the lawn, and take home a free book!

To check out more updates on the Pollination Station, visit our Learn & Play blog and follow us 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 past updates on our Pollination Station, check out our other buzzworthy posts!