Ohio’s First Pollinator Education Center
Recognizing the importance of pollinators, the Ohio Department of Transportation has partnered with several local organizations to create Ohio’s first Pollinator Habitat Education Center located off the I-75 Bowling Green exit. As motorists pull in they will pass a natural oak savanna habitat that is used food source for pollinators. Once visitors arrive they can visit a .35-acre education garden. This garden has interpretive signage about pollinators, native species, and the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative. Visitors can purchase wildflower seeds in the vending machine to take home and start their own garden.
This site alone has the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of motorists. ODOT has identified 7 additional locations for installation over the next 5 years.
Like most successful conservation projects, this is a collaborative effort. The Toledo Zoo, The Monarch joint venture, Fish and Wildlife, Wood County Parks, Ohio State University, and volunteers all contributed to project. Volunteers from Wildones, OCVN, and Monarch Watch installed over 3,000 native plants including swam milkweed, whorled milkweed, butterflyweed, tall coreopsis, purple coneflower, black-eyed susans, tall ironweed, Joe Pye weed, and wild bergamot in mass plantings. Local Garden Clubs and other volunteers will maintain the education garden. The grand opening was held on July 4th weekend 2017.