What are pollinators?

A Pollinator Habitat Garden is one that makes a home for native bees, butterflies, beetles, moths, and hummingbirds (for information on honey bees, refer to the Domesticated Animal section). Providing pollinator habitat on school grounds gives school children the opportunity to observe the natural world and participate in citizen science efforts. Students are engaged in a place-based exploration of their local habitat to design and plan out the habitat, culminating in planting, and observing.

So how can your school and your students implement the five key components of a pollinator habitat? See examples below:

  • Food: Nectar and pollen sources
  • Water: Birdbath, stream, butterfly puddling area, or small garden pond.

  • Cover: man-made boxes, rock pile/wall, brush pile/logs/dead trees, shrub thicket

  • Places to raise young: milkweed is the best larval host plant for monarchs, but consider other native larval host plants as well

  • Sustainable gardening methods: reduce invasive plants and avoid use of chemical pesticides and insecticides

Once you have provided these four key components of a pollinator habitat on your school grounds, you are ALSO eligible to certify as a National Wildlife Federation Schoolyard Habitat! Learn more here.