Pollinator Week, celebrated June 21 – June 27, 2021, is recognized by PECO, its five sister Exelon utilities, and fellow environmentally conscious organizations around the world to raise awareness about the urgent need to address declining pollinator populations, promote their valuable contributions to the ecosystem, and how we can protect them.
Pollinators are species that move pollen within or between flowering plants, allowing for successful fertilization and reproduction. Pollinators – including birds, butterflies, bats, bees, and other insects – are vital for food production, ecosystem health, and many other priceless ecological services. Worldwide there is mounting evidence that pollinating animals have suffered from loss of habitat, chemical misuse, introduced and invasive plant and animal species, and diseases and parasites.
Supporting pollinator habitats and biodiversity is an integral part of PECO’s operations, with an emphasis on transforming transmission rights-of-way throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania into a more welcoming place for pollinators to live. PECO uses industry-leading Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) practices to support native species and biodiversity and as a result of these efforts, has received 15 National Wildlife Federation (NWF) site certifications for our pollinator habitats, and seven Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) Conservation Certifications for our stewardship projects to date, which covers more than one-third of our managed lands. We have deployed bees, and installed bird, bat and butterfly houses to some of these sites to encourage biodiversity and aid in pollination efforts.
“Pollinators are essential to preserving a healthy ecosystem in the communities we serve,” said Amy Hamilton, PECO vice president of Support Services. “We embrace our responsibility to find innovative opportunities to protect wildlife and habitats—leveraging our assets to help ensure pollinator species recover and thrive, and pursuing pollinator-focused strategies that have the added benefit of enhancing the safety and reliability of the energy service we provide customers.”
Exelon’s corporate Biodiversity and Habitat Policy ensures its operating companies pursue other important pollinator-friendly strategies. For example, higher diversity seed mixes are used in vegetation restoration efforts, employees have access to educational resources about pollinators, and community pollinator initiatives are supported through partnerships with nonprofits and regulatory agencies.
Everyone can play an integral part in supporting the pollinator community. Pollinator.org provides seven simple tips to help foster and protect pollinator habitats:
1. PLANT FOR POLLINATORS
- Habitat opportunities abound on every landscape – from window boxes to acres of farms to corporate campuses to utility and roadside corridors – every site can be habitat.
- Utilize plants native to your area (or at the least, non- invasive for your area).
- Utilize the Ecoregional Planting Guides and the Garden Recipe Cards to create or enhance your pollinator garden. Decide among the plant material options – seeds, plugs, plants or a combination.
- Know your soil type and select appropriate plant material.
- Plant in clusters to create a “target” for pollinators to find.
- Plant for continuous bloom throughout the growing season from spring to fall.
- Select a site that is removed from wind, has at least partial sun, and can provide water.
- Allow material from dead branches and logs remain as nesting sites; reduce mulch to allow patches of bare ground for ground-nesting bees to utilize; consider installing wood nesting blocks for wood-nesting natives.
2. REDUCE OR ELIMINATE THE IMPACT OF PESTICIDES
- Check out the Pesticides Learning Center on the Pollinator Partnership website to learn more about the interactions between pollinators and pesticides!
3. REGISTER AS A BEE FRIENDLY FARMING GARDEN
- Register your home or community garden with Bee Friendly Farming Garden to showcase your commitment to pollinator health!
- Along with your registration, you can opt to receive your very own BFF Garden sign, to encourage others to do the same.
- Your registered garden will appear on the Bee Friendly Farming map, along with any photos you choose to submit.
4. REACH OUT TO OTHERS – INFORM AND INSPIRE
- Utilize all the materials available to help you tell the story of pollinators
- Tell local and state government officials that you care about pollinator health
5. SUPPORT LOCAL BEES AND BEEKEEPERS
- Buying local honey supports the beekeepers in your area
- If you’re concerned about the number of chemicals use in agriculture, buy organic.
- If you’re concerned about contributions to global carbon emissions, buy local.
6. CONSERVE ALL OF OUR RESOURCES; USE LESS AND REDUCE YOUR IMPACT
- Pollinators are dramatically affected by extremes in weather
- Climate change puts pressure on native ranges and overwintering sites.
7. SUPPORT THE WORK OF GROUPS PROMOTING SCIENCE BASED, PRACTICAL EFFORTS FOR POLLINATORS
- Donations can be made by going to www.pollinator.org/donate. Donors may also give to a certain program, should they like to support a more specific pollinator issue.