BRANFORD — Bees and other natural pollinators are incredibly efficient little critters, but they could always use a little help fulfilling their unique role in the world’s ecosystem — and the Branford Fire Department, working with Sustainable CT, is happy to do what it can to help.
The Fire Department is working to create a “pollinator pathway” in town that will transform vacant land into pollinator-friendly habitats by planting native trees, shrubs and herbaceous ground cover, organizers said in an email.
It will be part of a network of pollinator pathways through Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania that aim to link together areas where bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinating insects and wildlife already do their work, according to the pollinator-pathway.org website.
The Pollinator Pathway project, which began in Fairfield County, is organized by volunteers from town conservation organizations. Most native bees have a range of about 750 meters. The overall goal is to connect properties that are no farther apart than that.
Pollinators are vital to food production, proper functioning of the ecosystem and our overall well-being, the release said.
The Pollilnator Pathway project began in 2017 in Wilton. Since then, pathways have been established in more than 85 towns in Connecticut and New York, with one regional project also begun in Pennsylvania.
The Branford Fire Department is conducting a crowdfunding campaign that aims to raise $1,250. If completed by the fundraising deadline of Aug. 31, it would then unlock a matching grant of $1,250 from Sustainable CT.
As of Wednesday, $1,035 had been raised from 17 donors.
Project organizers are asking the community to join the initiative by donating money or volunteering in the effort. All community donations will be doubled by Sustainable CT’s Community Match Fund, which is a funding resource for public, community-led sustainability projects.
For Branford project details and to donate, visit www.Patronicity.com/bfdpollinatorpathway.
In Branford, plans are underway to transition grassy areas around the firehouse into a lush pollinator paradise. The total funding of $2,500 will go toward the purchase of plants, soil amendments, mulch and other supplies to create and maintain a safe home for native birds, bees and butterflies.
“The Branford Fire Department is excited to support the pollinators, plants and people of our community by transitioning vacant land around the firehouse into a haven for native flora,” said firefighter Alexandra Demitrack, who is leading the project for the Fire Department.
“We are raising money in order to transform grassy areas into fertile foundations that will support plants and pollinators for years to come,” Demitrack said. “Your financial support will allow us to purchase soil amendments, seeds and shrubs. Thanks for your time and energy.”
Sustainable CT is an initiative of the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University; it aims to inspire, support and recognize sustainability action by towns and cities statewide.
The Community Match Fund, funded by the Smart Seed Fund, Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation and the Connecticut Green Bank, provides a dollar-for-dollar match to donations raised from the community, doubling local investment in projects.
“Through the Community Match Fund, we aim to put residents at the forefront of creating positive, impactful change,” said Abe Hilding-Salorio, community outreach manager for Sustainable CT.
“Match Fund projects are community led and community funded, demonstrating the power of people working together to make change in their communities,” Hilding-Salorio said.
The Branford Pollinator Pathway project is one of 57 projects in 49 different municipalities on which Sustainable CT is working with local communities, Hilding-Salorio said.
It is one of the first projects launched as part of the second round of matching funding, which began on July 1, he said.
“Four projects are currently alive and actively fundraising,” Hilding-Salorio said.
Among projects nearby there are “a bunch in New Haven,” with another pollinator pathway project underway in West Haven, he said.
Other pollinator pathway projects have been done so far in Guilford, Madison, Wallingford, Durham, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, New Canaan, Newtown, Norwalk, Redding, Ridgefield, Stamford, Weston, Westport and Wilton, among other communities.