New resources in Michigan provide seeds for pollinator habitat

Project Wingspan and Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund expand their programs to Michigan and will provide seeds to help increase pollinator habitat.

Bee collage

Many Michiganders are helping pollinators by planting flowers that provide nutrition and habitat for our birds and bees. Pollinators across the country are experiencing population declines: annual honey bee losses range around 40 percent, monarch butterfly populations have experienced severe declines and some of Michigan’s native pollinators are becoming endangered, like the rusty patched bumble bee, which was listed as an endangered species in 2017 and hasn’t been seen in Michigan since 2001. A key cause of pollinator decline is a loss of habitat. It is essential to plant flowers and restore habitat if we want to have healthy pollinator populations in our state.

Anyone can provide pollinator habitat by planting flowers, and there are many programs that promote and incentivize planting for pollinators. This year, two organizations expanded their programs to include Michigan, providing seeds to individuals and organizations interested in helping pollinators. Check out the two programs below as well as the resources at Michigan Pollinator Initiative to help establish pollinator habitat.

Project Wingspan collects and distributes seeds for monarchs and the endangered rusty patched bumble bee.

The Pollinator Partnership has joined forces with several organizations and agencies to launch their new initiative, Project Wingspan, and they need your help! The project will be collecting seeds throughout Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. They have put a call out for enthusiastic seed collecting volunteers in all six states to help identify and collect milkweed and other common nectar plants. As a seed collecting volunteer, you will be provided with training and will be making valuable contributions to supporting migrating monarchs and the imperiled rusty patched bumble bee.

No seed collecting experience is required, but basic plant knowledge is preferred. Training and seed collection will start in spring 2019, but you can get on the list now. To sign up as a seed collector, email Amber Barnes at with your name, city, state and preferred email address or fill out the online form. You will be added to their volunteer contact list and more information will follow soon.

The Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund “Seed a Legacy” program provides seeds to landowners for restoration and feeding bees.

The Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund is a nonprofit dedicated to establishing high quality pollinator habitats. Their Seed A Legacy Pollinator Habitat Program provides a unique opportunity for the managers of private, public and corporate lands to establish high quality pollinator habitat. They develop mixes that are focused on different pollinators: monarchs, honey bees and native pollinators. You can apply to receive seeds for free or for a discount. They have a lot of information on how to successfully establish a habitat, and they have put a lot of work to make sure their seed mixes have high value to pollinators.

Check out many more resources on planting for pollinators at the Michigan Pollinator Initiative website.

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