RICHMOND, Va., Nov. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Project Plant It!, the environmental education initiative created by Dominion Energy in 2007, is abuzz with a big announcement for 2021. A new bee pollinator program is joining the popular tree-planting program. In addition to the free redbud tree seedling that program participants typically receive in the spring, they also will get a free packet of wildflower seeds specifically designed to attract bees and other pollinators.
"It's so exciting that Project Plant It! is still growing as we prepare to celebrate the milestone 15th observance of the program in 2021," said Melanie Rapp Beale, community affairs manager at Dominion Energy and Project Plant It! coordinator. "We wanted to commemorate the occasion by creating an educational and fun feature that would complement our tree program and align with Project Plant It's mission to teach the next generation how to be good stewards of our environment."
Project Plant It! is available for students of all ages and grade levels. Schools, scout troops, civic and faith-based groups, environment clubs and other entities that work with youth are eligible to request redbud tree seedlings and wildflower seed packets online now at projectplantit.com while supplies last.
Pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths and bats, play an essential role in supporting our nation's food system and the sustainability of our environment. Bees, in particular, are vital to the pollination of many fruits, nuts and vegetables that Americans enjoy on a daily basis. However, the number of bees is shrinking due to factors such as pesticides and loss of habitat.
Project Plant It! aims to increase bee populations by having students plant pollinator gardens at their homes, on school grounds, or in their communities. "Also, bees love redbud blossoms, so our tree program and our pollinator program work well together," added Beale.
The Educator Resources page of the Project Plant It! website has added a Pollinator Toolbox with a variety of hands-on instructional materials for the new pollinator program, including five science-focused lesson plans, a list of books and online resources, a participant certificate, and more. Most of the pollinator materials are available in English and Spanish.
In 2020, Project Plant It! distributed 60,000 Eastern Redbud tree seedlings despite impacts caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. Distribution was halted in the spring and the Arbor Day Foundation was able to refrigerate the seedlings to allow them to remain viable until new plans could be created to distribute them in the fall. In total, 53 organizations in six states were able to receive and distribute the seedlings under the revised plans.
The Project Plant It! website still has a toolbox of resources about the many benefits of trees to the ecosystem, including STEM-based lesson plans and interactive games, among other materials. The tree seedlings and the wildflower seed packets will be shipped to participants prior to Arbor Day (April 30, 2021). "National Wildflower Week is May 3-7 and June is National Pollinator Month, so there are lots of opportunities in 2021 to celebrate trees and pollinators by participating in Project Plant It!," Beale concluded.
Fast Facts about Project Plant It!
Arbor Day 2021 will mark the 15th time that thousands of students in communities served by Dominion Energy will plant redbud seedlings that they received from Project Plant It! It will be the first time that students will receive wildflower seed packets to plant a pollinator garden.
The tree seedlings and the wildflower packets are shipped to participants in April by the Arbor Day Foundation, a longtime partner with Dominion Energy.
Online enrollment is now open at projectplantit.com until all supplies of tree seedlings and wildflower seed packets have been taken.
Project Plant It! is offered only in areas served by Dominion Energy. If the website does not accept the registration, educators can still join the Project Plant It! family by downloading the free resources about trees and pollinators from the website.
From 2007-2020, approximately 630,000 tree seedlings have been distributed by Dominion Energy and Project Plant It!