Darien to launch ‘pollinator pathway’
DARIEN — The bees and butterflies that pass through Darien will soon have an easier way of it thanks to a collaboration between various groups in town.
The Darien Nature Center, the Garden Club of Darien, the Gardener’s Center and Florist and the Darien Library hope to help the environment by establishing a “Pollinator Pathway” across Darien.
Darien Pollinator Pathway Committee Co-Chairwoman Deepika Saksena said the concept was started by H2H (Hudson to Housatonic), which works to identify areas of conservation value and creates areas for pollinators — animals that fertilize plants.
“Pollinators are in big trouble and not just in Connecticut,” Saksena said. “We’re talking about birds, butterflies, bees and certain insects. All of these are pollinators.”
The cause of the pollinators’ troubles are three-fold, she said. First, natural environments of pollinators have been developed into business offices and houses. Second, the use of pesticides has affected pollinators. Third, there are now an increasing number of invasive plants in pollinators’ habitats.
“It’s over time but plants not native to our area manage to kill off the native plants,” Saksena said.
The pollinator pathway would provide a pesticide-free and native plant habitat on both public and private properties. Saksena said while some already-satisfactory areas have been identified, the pathway would connect them together.
Several other towns have already taken the initiative, creating pathways in their communities. In Fairfield County, Wilton was the first, but Norwalk, New Canaan, Ridgefield and Westport soon followed.
“A lot of these towns are ending in Darien because we are right on the shore,” Saksena said. “So what we decided was to give Darien its own Pollinator Pathway.”
To raise awareness for pollinators and the initiative in Darien, there are already plans for the new year, she added. On March 7 Douglas Tallamy, author of “Bringing Nature Home,” will stop at the Darien Library to talk about the environment. Also, the group of town residents behind the initiative hope to plant some native plants in several public spaces in the spring.
“We hope to identify these areas and have a public event,” Saksena said. “We want residents to see the demo garden and how beautiful native plants are.”
Saksena said they hope to get neighbors in the community involved. By ending the use of pesticides and planting one or two native plants in their garden, residents can help their local pollinators.
“This way we can make safe habitats for pollinators,” she said.