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Sunday, February 25, 2024
Feb. 25, 2024

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Energy Adviser: Pollinator Festival will have patrons abuzz


An un-bee-lievably fun weekend event is coming to Clark County in just a few weeks.

The first Clark Public Utilities Pollinator Festival is coming from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 24 at the utility’s Operations Center at 8600 N.E. 117th Ave. in Orchards.

This is your opportunity to learn from the experts, see firsthand demonstrations, take a garden tour and get up close and personal with some of the hardest-working critters in the animal kingdom, pollinators.

More than 25 agencies, organizations, universities, artisans and local businesses are participating in this free outdoor festival. This family-friendly event will include crafts and activities for children. Farmers market booths, seminars with local experts, food trucks and music will add to the fun.

Plus, best-selling author and advocate Doug Tallamy will be at the festival. His presentation will share his hopeful vision for the future and the simple solutions each of us can use to transform our yards into conservation corridors for wildlife. Get a copy of “Nature’s Best Hope” at the festival (while supplies last), or bring your own for Tallamy to sign after his talk.

Pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, beetles, hummingbirds and more, play a critical role in the life cycle of plants throughout the ecosystem. Without pollinators, many plants, including those that we rely on for food crops, cannot reproduce. Unfortunately, many pollinators across the spectrum are in decline throughout North America.

Locally, Clark Public Utilities is committed to doing our part to support these critical species and the utility wants to help its customers understand how they can be part of the solution.

Clark Public Utilities has a long history of environmental stewardship in Clark County. For more than 30 years, the utility’s StreamTeam has restored and protected salmon habitat in critical watersheds and planted a million trees around Clark County.

“The core of that work has involved educational initiatives and collaborating with our dedicated volunteers to control invasive weeds and replace them with native plants in critical areas,” said Clark Public Utilities Environmental Sustainability Manager Michael O’Loughlin. “Supporting pollinator habitat is a natural extension of that work because it involves much of the same efforts and several of the same plant varieties. Now we’re expanding our focus to support more species in more areas.”

In 2021, Clark Public Utilities planted its first pollinator gardens. With smiles and many shovels, utility staff replaced some of the ornamental plantings with pollinator-friendly flowering plants. The results are a colorful blend of flora that looks great and offers food and habitat to beneficial insects and birds for much of the year — while needing little more resources than what Mother Nature provides. The project was so successful Clark Public Utilities plans to enhance additional properties and facilities with pollinator-friendly plants in the future.

Festival visitors can tour the Operations Center pollinator garden and meadow firsthand with a friendly Clark Public Utilities staff member. They’ll get an up-close look at how easy it can be to create a garden that is both beautiful, low-maintenance and beneficial to the creatures we all depend on — pollinators. With that fresh inspiration in mind, festivalgoers can pick up regionally appropriate pollinator plants and seeds.

Mark your calendar for this lively community celebration of some of the hardest-working organisms in the animal kingdom.

Dress for the weather and bring your hat, favorite water bottle and some friends!

Energy Adviser is written by Clark Public Utilities. Send questions to ecod@clarkpud.com or to Energy Adviser, c/o Clark Public Utilities, P.O. Box 8900, Vancouver, WA 98668.