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City of Manitou Springs has been named world’s first certified municipal Pollinator District


MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) - The City of Manitou Springs has been named the world's first certified municipal Pollinator District.

According to city officials, this is through a partnership with Butterfly Pavilion (BP) showcasing the community's commitment to protecting and preserving vital pollinators. Officials said pollinators, such as honey bees, native bees, and butterflies are vital to the human production of food and the reproduction of native plants.

This is also through a collaborative effort by the City's Parks and Recreation Department.

"This certification as the world's first certified municipal pollinator district is not only a remarkable accolade for our city but also a testament to the collaborative spirit and dedication of the Manitou Springs community," said John Graham, Mayor of Manitou Springs in a press release. "We take immense pride in setting an example for other cities to follow, showing that with concerted efforts, we can protect one of the most crucial elements of our planet – pollinators."

In response to habitat destruction, chemical pollution, parasites, and pathogens that have significantly decreased the numbers of pollinators, the BP has created Pollinator Districts.

These communities are designed to conserve and improve habitat for pollinators in all aspects of development and operation. Pollinator Districts are meant to engage all of the people that live, work, and play in these spaces, encouraging them to experience nature and build a greater appreciation for these critical species and their habitats.

“All of us rely on pollinators such as bees and butterflies for the food we eat and the health of our ecosystems, and all of us can make a positive impact on pollinator conservation through our daily actions,” said Amy Yarger, Director of Horticulture, Butterfly Pavilion in a press release. “Butterfly Pavilion uses our scientific expertise to collaborate with communities such as Manitou Springs to ensure a brighter future for pollinators, people, and other living things."

Officials said Manitou Springs has transformed its landscapes into flower - and native-plant-rich environments, creating a haven for butterflies, bees, and other essential pollinators. This includes the incorporation of rain gardens, bio-swales, green roofs, public common areas, and residential developments, the city has seamlessly integrated pollinator-friendly enhancements into various green spaces.

“Indigenous Peoples understand and know intact Earth ecosystems are the foundation for all life,” said Melody Daugherty Tsalagi, Executive Director of the Manitou Pollinators and Project Manager for the Manitou Springs Pollinator District in a press release. "As an Indigenous Elder and Executive Director of the Manitou Pollinators, a 501c3 Indigenous-led non-profit, I am extremely proud of the strength, resilience, and vision my Ancestors gave me to achieve Manitou Springs distinction as the 1st Certified Pollinator District in the World benefiting all beings.”

Below are details on Pollinator Districts released by city officials:

In the Pollinator District, enhancements are integrated into engineered green spaces such as rain gardens, bio-swales, green roofs, public common areas, and residential development. Elements of Pollinator District include:

  • Research - Establishing a baseline of pollinator diversity and understanding challenges in the area of interest.
  • Habitat restoration - Restoring open spaces with native shrubs and wildflowers to provide nutrition for pollinators.
  • Habitat gardening - Building gardens that more closely resemble natural habitats, including a variety of native flowering plants and shrubs, open ground, and a passive water source. 
  • Beekeeping - Providing aspiring beekeepers in the community with training on how to keep bees through sustainable techniques.
  • Public education and engagement - Educating diverse audiences on pollinator conservation topics through volunteer opportunities, workshops, classes, public events, and more. 
  • Sustainability - Prioritizing sustainable design, construction, and maintenance practices that conserve water and soil and preserve native plant communities whenever possible. 
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