Staff — June 30, 2015

The Horticultural Research Institute, the research affiliate of AmericanHort, announced the launch of the Grow Wise, Bee Smart website. This resource is a key component of the Horticultural Industry’s Bee and Pollinator Stewardship Initiative, which was created to provide leadership and guidance to the industry on pollinator health. The site serves as the communications hub for the latest research and developments related to the role horticulture plays in supporting pollinator health.

Grow Wise, Bee Smart currently features information on the importance of bees and pollinators, threats to their health, and steps everyone can take to improve habitat and forage. Links to the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge and Pollinator Partnership further guide retail and landscape firms and their customers on how to plant and register new gardens and habitats for pollinators.

As the Grow Wise, Bee Smart stewardship program for plant production is launched, and as funded and directed research yields results and guidance, the site will feature timely new information and insights.

The Horticultural Industry’s Bee and Pollinator Stewardship Initiative has three goals:

  • fund and guide research to answer urgent questions regarding impact of pest management practices and bee and pollinator attractiveness of major plants we grow and sell;
  • develop a plant production stewardship program based on best practices; and,
  • partner with other interested groups to improve and expand pollinator habitat and forage.

Great progress is being made on all fronts. The Horticultural Research Institute has directly funded five related research projects totaling $160,100. AmericanHort and HRI helped to secure another $272,000 for a priority project that received special Farm Bill funding. A grower and scientist task force has developed key components for the stewardship program. And, AmericanHort was one of eight founding partners of the National Pollinator Garden Network, which in early June launched the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge.

“Horticulture, the health of pollinators, and the success of our industry are intertwined,” said Harvey Cotten, past president of the Horticultural Research Institute and a leader in the Bee and Pollinator Stewardship Initiative. “We are the original green industry, and our plants and expertise can make a difference for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators,” he added.

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