FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jenny Gieseke; 651-539-2596
February 3, 2023
St. Paul, Minn. – The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) has selected 2,000 Minnesota residents to receive Individual Support grants through the Lawns to Legumes program.
“Lawns to Legumes helps Minnesota residents play an essential role in protecting the pollinators that sustain our natural resources, ecosystems and economy,” said BWSR Executive Director John Jaschke.
Funded by the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, Lawns to Legumes offers a combination of workshops, coaching, planting guides and cost-share funding for installing pollinator-friendly native plantings in residential lawns. BWSR partners with Metro Blooms and Blue Thumb — Planting for Clean Water to administer the program. So far, the program has resulted in about 3,000 planting projects, involved about 8,000 workshop and presentation participants, and more than 140 volunteer coaches, and generated more than 350,000 visits to program websites to access resources.
Individual Support grants reimburse Minnesota residents for up to $350 in costs associated with planting pollinator habitat in their yards. Recipients have access to workshops, coaching opportunities and gardening resources to help ensure project success. Recipients are required to contribute a 25% match in the form of purchasing materials, hiring contractors or as in-kind time spent planting and maintaining their projects.
Minnesota is home to about 500 native bee species. Pollinators also include butterflies, moths, beetles and native flies. All play a key role in pollinating many food crops and native plants, but populations have significantly declined worldwide in recent years. Population decline can be attributed to habitat loss and lack of related nutrition for pollinators, as well as pesticide use and pathogens. Lawns to Legumes seeks to combat population decline by creating new pollinator habitat and habitat corridors that provide food sources and nesting space for pollinators. The program emphasizes protection of at-risk species, such as Minnesota’s state bee, the federally endangered rusty patched bumblebee.
Anyone interested in helping pollinators can access free resources on the BWSR website and the Blue Thumb website. Lawns to Legumes is currently accepting new applications for fall projects. Applications can be submitted on the Apply for Lawns to Legume Assistance page.