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Media Memo: Partners for Pollinators project receives funding

May 2, 2012

TO: News Editors and Directors

FROM: Judy Berthiaume

DATE: May 2, 2012

SUBJECT: Partners for Pollinators project receives funding

A community project initiated by students enrolled in a University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire honors class has received funding from the Wisconsin Environmental Education Board.

The $5,263 grant will enable students in the "Civic Agency: Environmental Stewardship" class to produce materials they've created to help educate people in the area about the importance of pollinator species and how to create and maintain pollinator habitats.

The 13 students leading the Partners for Pollinators project will gather with community volunteers from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, May 6, in downtown Eau Claire to plant a pollinator habitat in the Phoenix Community Gardens (across Madison Street from Phoenix Park).

During Sunday's Planting Fiesta, students and volunteers — including youth scouting troops, school groups, gardening club members and others — will create a pollinator habitat to help support the pollinating animals that are vital to the local ecosystem. Students hope the habitat will become one of many established and maintained in yards and parks throughout the community. The Girl Scouts will maintain the habitat created Sunday.

The UW-Eau Claire students also are working with community groups to create educationalmaterials and events to encourage people to create and monitor pollinator habitats, and to monitor the abundance and diversity of pollinator species. All materials and events are intended to build citizen-to-citizen networks of neighbors who can swap information and plant materials to help spread the creation of pollinator habitats throughout the community.

The WEEB funding will allow materials to be printed and widely shared.

Educational materials and events supported by the WEEB grant include:

  • Pollinator kits containing information that will educate people about how to best help pollinators.
  • A portable pollinator exhibit that can be taken to community venues such as schools, festivals, neighborhood association meetings, libraries and horticulture events. Students plan to have the exhibit at the Eau Claire Sustainability Fair in August.
  • "This is a pollinator habitat" yard signs that will be distributed to people who plant habitats in their yards. They will be encouraged to put the signs in locations visible from the street as a way to pique neighborhood interest.
  • A fall reading series at L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library led by Dr. Tim Hirsch, professor emeritus of English.

Mike Huggins, the recently retired city of Eau Claire administrator, has donated his expertise and time to the students as they work to establish grassroots support in the community for pollinator habitats.

The honors class, which includes students from the Chippewa Valley, is taught by Dr. Ruth Cronje, an associate professor of English who teaches science and technical writing. You can reach her at 715-836-5384 or cronjer@uwec.edu.

A full story about the Partnerships for Pollinators project can be found online.

Details about the May 6 Planting Fiesta and the Partnerships for Pollinators project can be found on the project's Facebook page.

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