Every year, there seems to be more and more buzz about bees, butterflies and pollinators.

More information seems to come out about their benefits, pesticide alternatives for your plants, or the “top 5” things you can do to encourage more visits to your flowers or vegetable garden.

Great as it is to have an abundance of resources, it can be quite the task to sift through and turn it into action. It's understandable that for many, the process of picking out plants that are both well-suited for their yard and meet their tastes can be tasking. All the more if you're considering what offers the best for pollinators. Plus, there's a lot to consider around long term maintenance and deciding between hybrids, heirlooms and so forth.

Well let me announce a remedy to all this. The Carlton Soil and Water Conservation District, in partnership with Oldenburg Arts and Cultural Community (OACC) and Xerces Society, is unveiling its first ever Native Plant Kit Sale. Push to the side any and all dismay you had in trying to retrofit your yard with plants that both look good and do good. Our native plant kits contain the best species for the region and provide a bounty of colors while offering the best benefit to our pollinators.

We have seven kits available with plants for differing focuses: monarchs, songbirds, pollinators, shade, rain gardens, deer resistance and under pine trees. The kits all contain 36 plugs of 7 plant species to cover an area of 150 feet for $60. All plants are supplied from Minnesota Native Landscapes who helped us ensure that the kits are designed to be easy to plant, easy to maintain and provide a mix of colors and plant heights for best aesthetics and function for wildlife.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Orders will be taken now until June 5 and curbside pickup is scheduled for Friday, June 19 from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Note: we will be following social distancing guidelines for everyone's safety. Visit our website to order or get more information: www.carltonswcd.org, or call us at (218) 384-3891.

With this new sale on our agenda, it's important to mention the motivation behind it all. Back when the state unveiled the Lawns to Legumes program and provided funding towards habitat for the endangered Rusty Patch Bumblebee, we started a conversation with the OACC about what else could be done to further pollinator prosperity in the area. Our goal became making Carlton County the first pollinator corridor in Minnesota.

This corridor aims to provide a network of pollinator habitats through voluntary plantings on the part of residents and private businesses supported by the partnership of our office, OACC and Xerces Society. The idea is to connect dispersed interests in pollinator conservation towards a collaborative effort boosting the overall impact.

Not only does this partnership hope to expand planting sites, but it also seeks to record current established plots. If you currently host a pollinator garden, please let us know. Additionally, if you are interested in sponsoring or hosting a garden, whether as a resident, private business, developer, etc., please reach out.

All inquiries regarding the pollinator corridor effort can be directed either to Alyssa Alness at alyssa.alness@carltonswcd.org or 218-384-3891, or Emily Fuerste Swanson at emily@oacc.us or 763-226-6828.

Chris Gass is the conservation education and outreach coordinator for the Carlton Soil and Water Conservation District. For more information about the Carlton SWCD and any of the staff's or supervisors' work with natural resources, call 218-384-3891. Find more information about Carlton SWCD on Facebook and at carltonswcd.org.