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How to Use Solar Fields to Save the Bees

Beekeeper Working on a Beehive

You’ve seen them everywhere—large open solar fields with rows of panels. Aside from housing energy-saving devices, these fields are often left unused. However, these well-mowed solar fields are often excellent, untapped resources. Why not put them to use to help bees and other pollinators that are dying due to climate change, pesticide use, and loss of habitat?

Solar fields, whether they are for community or personal use, can be great habitats for these creatures and some states are taking action. In fact, in August 2016, lawmakers in Minnesota passed a new law to encourage solar owners to plant wild grasses and flowers in their fields as habitats for bees, song birds, and game birds. Since the proposed bill, solar pollinator habitats have started popping up across the country.

 

Where to Start?

While creating your own solar pollinator habitat may seem daunting, there are many online resources to help you through the process. The “Solar Site Pollinator Habitat Planning & Assessment,” developed by the Pollinator-Friendly Solar Initiative of Vermont, is a guide to help you create your official pollinator-friendly solar habitat. The scorecard outlines the exact steps you have to take to meet the requirements to become an official habitat.

 

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What You’ll Need

As the University of Vermont describes on its Pollinator Friendly Solar Resources page, the first thing you’ll need to do is contact a qualified pollinator expert to make sure your land is ideal for a habitat. Then, by consulting the scorecard, you can begin to find seed mixes for your habitat. Try and find mixes that are “pollinator friendly” or shade tolerant species like milkweed, clover, sunflower, and wheat grass. Once you have your seeds, with your own hard work or help from landscapers, your solar fields can be converted in to excellent habitats for endangered pollinators.

 

Doing Your Part

Even though you may not have a solar site, you can still do your part to support local pollinators. By consulting the scorecard you can turn everything from your solar site to your backyard garden into a pollinator sanctuary.

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