Duke Energy Foundation Grant Helps Create Pollinator-Friendly Habitats

Posted September 28, 2018

ButterflyZoo Receives Duke Energy Foundation Grant To Create More Pollinator-Friendly Habitats for Our Urban Landscapes

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden was awarded a $22,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation that will support key parts of a project to create more pollinator friendly habitat in the urban landscape.  More in number and size as well as more pollinator-friendly in quality, diversity, and sustainability for the urban landscapes of the Zoo’s service area. The Cincinnati Zoo’s Horticulture team will mobilize its 15+ years of applied research and trialing of plants for pollinators and use the dual resources of the urban Botanical Garden at the Zoo as well as the Zoo’s 600+ acres at our Bowyer Farm in Warren County, OH, to significantly advance the creation of excellent habitat to attract and sustain the area’s many pollinators.  The project will make a significant difference in the Greater Cincinnati area by:

  1. Expanding CZBG’s ability to identify, grow and evaluate the best pollinator plants for the Greater Cincinnati region. CZBG is one of the few gardens in the country doing research on the scale we plan to identify, trial, and grow plants for pollinators. Our role in this research is to grow, plant and observe a large number of plants at our Bowyer Farm nursery and in the gardens at the CZBG. This will allow us to provide the broadest “first look” at the many different plants, including their cultivars, to see if there is a difference in pollinator activity. This information will benefit the nursery industry, developers, schools, and municipalities as well as homeowners in making better plant choices for their landscapes.
  2. Educating key audiences about proper plants and best management practices to ensure pollinator health in our region through an all-day Plants for Pollinators workshop at the Zoo for about 200 landscape professionals, municipal and business leaders, as well as homeowners;  developing a “Best Practices” manual for creating pollinator habitats; placing new labeling and signage in the CZBG gardens; and using CZBG’s powerful social media presence to get the word out about how everyone can help pollinators.
  3. Creating two pollinator-friendly gardens in the Greater Cincinnati community to serve as examples, using many of the plants grown in our horticulture nursery and inviting CZBG, community, and Duke Energy volunteers to prepare and plant the gardens.