If You Build It – They Will Come

8266f12d-ed0b-4332-a95b-8ba475f9633f Story and photos by Marissa Jensen

You may recognize this as one of the greatest baseball movie quotes of all time, but it is equally relevant and important when discussing habitat. And while planting milkweed might not bring Kevin Costner directly to your home (trust me, I’ve tried), it will provide necessary food and shelter for a variety of wildlife species.

Over the course of this past week we’ve shared with you the national concern over the plight of many pollinator species, what the Habitat Organization is doing in response, and how this all connects back to the places we cherish and the birds we love to pursue. On the final day of our weeklong celebration, we share with you a few ways to support pollinators and their habitat at home.

Plant Habitat

Take Habitat Home: This seed packet comes filled with native wildflower seeds, milkweed, and native grass, that will cover a 10-foot by 10-foot area. Thanks to bulk seed packet purchasing options, not only will you have enough for your own pollinator backyard project, but there’s plenty to go around.

Pollinator Bears: These sweet bears contain a mix that can cover a 200-400 square foot pollinator garden, providing another option that’s perfect for the backyard. Pollinator Bears also make great gifts to the outdoor enthusiast in your life. It’s entirely acceptable to purchase one, or many, for yourself as well. 

Pollinator Habitat Outreach Program: In response to COVID-19 and the organization’s efforts toward #ResponsibleRecreation, the Martin County Pheasants Forever Chapter in Minnesota held the first-of-its-kind virtual zoom pollinator habitat outreach project. Thea Nutt (Martin County Outreach Chair) led the event, conducting a Pollinator Free Food Game (such as Pollinators and Pizza) and additional hands-on activities. Guest speaker Krista Thompson, a beekeeper from the community, showed students the various equipment needed for beekeeping and ended with a virtual tour of her beehives. Students were then invited out to the site on a one-by-one basis. Approximately 20 youth participants visited the site and were given seed to distribute on the 2.6-acre plot. Thank you to our partners Corteva, Bayer, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Monarch Joint Venture, TransCanada, and Pollinator Partnership for making these events possible. Interested in hosting your own project? Contact Anna Swerczek at aswerczek@pheasantsforever.org

Milkweed in the Classroom: One of the organization’s newest programs is Milkweed in the Classroom, a turn-key habitat education program for school-age students. Support for this program includes all the materials needed to grow native plants, online training on how to grow native plants, and curriculum that meets all national science standards! Not only do students have an opportunity to learn about pollinators, along with upland bird foraging and nesting habitat, but the program is designed to get kids outside and gain an appreciate for wildlife and conservation. To learn more about Milkweed in the Classroom contact Drew Larsen at dlarsen@pheasantsforever.org.

Miles for Monarchs

Run, walk, bike, or paddle the great monarch migration! Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever are partnering with the Monarch Joint Venture to raise awareness and funds for monarch conservation. There are three great ways that individuals can participate:
  • Make a Direct Donation
  • Sign up to Become a Fundraiser
  • Host an Event
Funds raised through this virtual event will support habitat, research, and education work across the U.S. to protect monarchs and other pollinators through programs implemented by Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever and the Monarch Joint Venture. Individuals and teams can participate by registering for the virtual event. After registering, participants will receive an email with tips for the event, how to share your challenge on social media, and how to account for miles earned. Everyone who donates $30 or more will have the option to receive an exclusive Miles for Monarchs t-shirt. 

What are you waiting for? Get started today!

Become a Member: Quite frankly, we need and want your support! And by joining Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, you can help support pollinators, upland birds, and their habitat for generations to come. As part of our community, members stay up to date with new initiatives and programs that continue to work hard to protect the places we all love to roam. Memberships also make great gifts, and there are even student and youth memberships available. Get started today and join the Habitat Organization. 

Join a Chapter: Looking to make a difference in your own community? Join a chapter! Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever chapters determine how 100 percent of their locally raised dollars are spent. There are currently over 700 chapters across the country that are actively looking to build their communities. Now is a great time to get involved with your local chapter.

Can’t find a chapter listed in your community? There’s an opportunity to Start a Chapter and help make conservation decisions in your community!