The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) is observing National Pollinator Week and continuing its commitment to promote the establishment of pollinator sites across the state.
DelDOT has recently established two new pollinator areas on its’ campus in Dover, adding to the 60 sites previously created through the Department’s “Enhancing Delaware Highways” initiative. The Department’s largest pollinator site, Dove’s Nest, is a 43-acre meadow located adjacent to U.S. 301 in Middletown planted with native wildflowers that bloom across the growing season to ensure that pollinators have a food source all year long and Milkweed to provide a breeding habitat for the monarch butterfly, which has seen its numbers drop by nearly 80 percent.
In addition to supporting pollinators these sites beautify roadside landscapes with native plants and reduce the need for mowing.
“In an average year, DelDOT mows more than 51,000 acres of grass across the state and making some of these areas pollinator-friendly is another way we can increase our commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Secretary of Transportation Nicole Majeski.
In May, the Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles’ Support Pollinators license plate was recognized by the Automobile License Plate Collectors Association’s (ALPCA), receiving the Best Plate Award for 2021. The Support Pollinators Plate showcases a combination of vibrant colors, native plants, birds, bees, and butterflies. Purchasing the plate for a one-time fee of $50 online or at any DMV location, helps support pollinator habitat maintenance throughout the State of Delaware. Seventy percent of the fee or $35 goes directly to DelDOT’s Environmental Stewardship Office to assist with creating, enhancing, and preserving pollinator habitats. To date, more that 500 plates have been purchased.
To celebrate the national recognition, visitors to the Delaware State Fair will be able to enter for a chance to win one of the new Support Pollinators plates by stopping by the DelDOT booth in the Delaware building.
National Pollinator Week was initiated and is managed by Pollinator Partnership to address the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations, as pollinators provide pollination services to over 180,000 different plant species and more than 1200 crops. Pollinator Week has now grown into an international celebration, promoting the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats, beetles, moths, wasps, and flies. More information can be found at pollinator.org.