Manitou Springs to become Pollinator District

A sign in Mansions Park in Manitou Springs provides information on the importance of pollinators and what you can do to help them.

Ethan Anderson, Senior Reporter

On June 5, 2023, Manitou Springs will be certified by the Butterfly Pavilion as the world’s first municipal Pollinator District.

“A Pollinator District is a community that is committed to conserving and improving habitats for pollinators,” said Amy Yarger, the Horticulture Director at The Butterfly Pavilion. “They demonstrate pollinator habitats through the footprint of the development. Community members become citizen scientists, beekeepers, gardeners, and stewards of the land. Communities become Pollinator Districts by adding/ improving pollinator habitat, by conducting community science, and by educating their residents in the importance of pollinator conservation.”

This comes after five years of work to make sure that Manitou Springs holds up to everything that a Pollinator District represents.

“Pollinator Districts are really community-led efforts! Led by the Manitou Pollinators and their executive director, Melody Daugherty, Manitou Springs has excelled at creating productive partnerships to help pollinators,” Yarger said. “The community has planted pollinator habitat throughout public and private properties and conducted pollinator counts to assess what species are in the area. The community also puts on the annual Pollinator Festival in June. City departments have participated by adding pollinator pockets to parks such as Memorial Park, Schryver Park, and beside the Aquatics Center.”

A Pollinator District is a long term commitment. Pollinator habitats and populations take years to establish.

 “Butterfly Pavilion serves as a consultant and provides science-based recommendations to improve habitat,” Yarger said. “We provided garden designs for the parks projects listed above. Over the next decades, a stringent program of measurement and evaluation will inform land managers about gains and challenges in pollinator habitat conservation at these sites; work plans and recommendations will be adapted to address these challenges and to ensure that our work is successful in making our communities better for pollinators and for people.”

The success of these pollinator habitats comes from a community that cares deeply about the environment and conservation.

“We really care about our community, the environment and making sure we’re not another big city,” said Gabrielle Waters, the Environmental Club Advisor at Manitou Springs High School. “Where we are, at this school, it’s so beautiful here. Everybody recognizes that and wants to keep it a really beautiful place.”

The success of Pollinator Districts comes from the community that cares so much about conservation.