So here’s a small bit of encouraging news for pollinators.
The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation has started a pilot program awarding grants to cover the cost of converting turf grass to pollinator habitat in Illinois. Unfortunately, homeowners are not eligible. However, park districts and other local governments as well as not-for-profit organizations may qualify.
Grants can be for up to $20,000. Funded projects must cover a minimum of 2 acres, though the land can be divided into 2 parcels.
You can find out more about the new grant program here.
There’s a lot of useless lawn in parks and on the grounds of colleges, hospitals, etc. At the same time, habitat loss is one of the main drivers of pollinator decline. However, funding for new projects is in short supply almost everywhere, so I’d like to think this will jump start a lot of new habitat conversion projects.
This Foundation was created in 1999 when the legislature forced Commonwealth Edison, our largest utility, to provide a $225 million endowment. The money came from the sale of several power plants.
Many people considered the power plant sale to be a massive windfall for the company, and argued that the profits should go back to consumers in the form of a rebate or lower rates. That never happened, but the Foundation endowment was a compromise of sorts. Later the legislature tried to take the money back to fill a budget hole, but the courts turned them down.
Anyways. While the Foundation’s primary focus is renewable energy, they also have a natural areas program. Grants as small as $10,000 and as large as over $1 million have gone to strengthen conservation organizations, expand or improve natural areas, and fund pollinator projects at local K-12 schools.
So if you sit on the board of an Illinois park district or not-for-profit (or you know someone who does), check out this new grant program. It may open up some possibilities to provide much needed help for pollinators.
There are similar grants being offered here. As I recall, some programs allow homeowners to apply, but I’m not sure of the details. I noticed the linked article above about the natives vs. ‘nativars’ debate. I’d never heard the word ‘nativar,’ and went over for a read. It certainly was an interesting article — archive browsing is so useful.
Some strong words have been said on the Nativar question. I resist taking an absolutist position, though.
Sounds a really giood idea, I hope it grows and spreads.
A very enlightened community project… I have noticed some of the city parks in Australia do have pollinator sections now.. but great to have funding for it.
Money is so often a stumbling block.
That’s a wonderful initiative! We need a similar one over here, I think! I hope a significant portion of that newly planted habitat will be trees. 🙂
Hopefully it’s a start to something much bigger. We do have something here in my area for homeowners through the soil conservation. However there are many rules and it’s not easily explained to the average homeowner.
To develop and implement a program aimed at homeowners would be very challenging, I think. You’d need a lot of money and then somehow have to monitor compliance. Worth a try, though.
This should be done in every state.
An optimist bright spot in the world.
Thank god there are at least a few bright spots.
Heartwraming to hear of such grants. Only small ones are available to farmers and landowners here in Germany, but legislature is changing rapidly after our successful ‘save the bees’ referendum last spring. There is hope!
I didn’t hear about your referendum. Was that national or just in Bavaria?
It was in Bavaria in the spring, and so many signatures were gathered that the Bavarian state government was forced to act… more grants for organic farming, bans on pesticides, stricter laws on chemical and manure spreading etc near natural water sources and much more. Our farmers are all against it and went to Berlin a couple of weeks ago in their tractors to protest at the Brandenburg Gate!
Farmers can be their own worst enemies.
Lovely images on a grey morning here
Glad to brighten up your morning.
That is encouraging, the rescue is always looking for such projects.xxx
I hope there is one available for your area.
‘Environmental’ groups here bought up a bunch of unusable forested parcels to ‘protect’ them from development, as if they could be developed. Since ‘environmentalists’ do not want any of the timber to be harvested off of the parcels, the vegetation gets more combustible every year that it does not burn. They are downhill from my neighborhood! Since the redwoods were harvested about a century ago, and regenerated with multiple trunks for every single trunk that was harvested, the forests are unnaturally combustible to begin with. Harvesting would actually benefit the forest, at least until the superfluous vegetation gets to a more natural equilibrium.
Not sure how that applies to this program, which is about converting lawn into more pollinator-friendly plantings.
‘Environmental’ projects worry me, even in urban areas.