Bee decline is a threat worldwide. An Extension project was initiated to make the general public, industry, and municipalities aware of this problem. We demonstrated pollinator habitat suitable for Maine farms by developing cooperation between the Maine wild blueberry industry and a regional commercial waste landfill. The reason for involving the landfill industry was to demonstrate and encourage non-farm enterprises to become involved in pollinator conservation. This project arose from previous research of ours on pollinator reservoirs in the Maine (USA) wild blueberry agro-ecosystem with the Objectives of: (1) comparing three seed mixes, (2) providing demonstration areas where farmers and the general public can see such gardens, and (3) encouraging others to plant for pollinators.
The methods involved planting two types of gardens in 2015, one that contained three different commercially available pollinator forage seed mixes, and one that contained shrubs and some perennials that are visited by pollinators early and late in the season, but that are not readily grown in a wildflower meadow. For all three seed mixes, at least some plant species produced flowers that were visited by bees, but there were also gaps in flowering and some species on which we saw few bees. We observed more bees coming to flowers of corn poppy, tall yellow clover, oxeye daisy, black-eyed Susan, anise hyssop, and bergamot. Ox-eye daisy and black-eyed Susan were not in any of the seed mixes but were allowed to grow among the sown plants. More than 600 people came through the booth or toured the gardens at four open houses in 2015 and 2016, and many people know of the project through presentations we have given. The stakeholders and public learned about bees and floral resources. Several municipalities and farmers have planted pollinator reservoirs since this project was initiated.
Keywords: pollinator reservoirs, wildflower seed mix, demonstration, landfill, wild blueberry