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Kent Land Trust Executive Director Connie Manes led a tour through the pollinator garden at the Village Farm in Gaylordsville in advance of a meeting of the Kent Chamber of Commerce on Monday, Aug. 1. Photo by Leila Hawken

Kent Land Trust helps to raise pollinator population awareness

KENT — Bees and butterflies were first on the agenda on Monday, Aug. 1, when the Kent Land Trust (KLT)  met with the Chamber of Commerce to raise awareness of its pollinator initiatives.

The KLT is working to encourage plantings and land management on behalf of a dwindling population of beneficial insects, whose numbers include bees and butterflies.

The meeting was held at the Village Farm in Gaylordsville, featuring a guided tour through the farm’s thriving pollinator garden, in advance of the Chamber’s regular August meeting.

Leading off the event was Melissa Cherniske, KLT program manager, presenting an overview of the work of the land trust that stewards more than 3,000 acres in Kent, land that is open for public enjoyment.

“This is our second year of spreading the word about local participation in the Pollinator Pathway program,” Cherniske said.

The Land Trust has also promoted the no-mow May effort, encouraging homeowners, businesses and farms to allow pollinator-friendly plants to grow and attract beneficial insects in the spring.

“Farms need pollinators; the majority of foods also need pollinators,” Village Farm owner Lisa Goedewaagen commented.

“We need to be mindful of how our habitats connect,” said Connie Manes, KLT executive director, at the start of her tour of the Village Farm pollinator garden. “Without pollinators, we would not eat,” she warned.

A first step in supporting habitats of native insects and birds is to assess how your property relates to properties around you, Manes said.

Assuring listeners that “anyone can do it,” practical advice offered by Manes included limiting use of herbicides and pesticides and removal of invasive plants because some invasives are like junk food for pollinators, citing Black Swallow-wort as an example. Swallow-wort mimics milkweed but is harmful to monarch butterflies when they mistake it for the real thing.

KLT trail guide booklets are available. To maintain visibility, the KLT serves as co-host for town concerts and the farmers market.

For more information on the programs of the Kent Land Trust, go to www.kentlandtrust.org.

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