Upcoming workshops will continue FRCOG efforts toward regional pollinator plan

  • A draft map showing regional pollinator corridors and pollinator habitat “stepping stone” areas. Contributed Image

  • A bee gathers nectar on the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DIANE BRONCACCIO

Staff Writer
Published: 5/3/2021 3:09:36 PM

An online pollinator workshop for Shelburne this week, and another workshop for the larger Franklin County area later this month, will continue ongoing work between the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) and area communities to develop pollinator-friendly planning practices.

With funding from an Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs planning grant, FRCOG is working with Greenfield, Heath, Shelburne, Conway, Bernardston, Montague, Wendell and Orange to map local pollinator habitat and resource areas; identify possible pollinator corridor linkages; recommend updates to land-use regulations to include requirements for native plantings and pollinator-friendly landscape management practices; and create a Pollinator Habitat Corridor Implementation Toolkit.

According to FRCOG Land Use and Natural Resources Planning Program Manager Kimberly Noake MacPhee, the regional agency received $93,4000 in state and federal funding for its efforts.

“The plan will be expandable, so that with additional funding and interest from other Franklin County towns, regional pollinator corridors can be expanded across the county,” FRCOG Land Use and Natural Resources Planner Helena Farrell said. “Local-level strategies such as these are critically needed to respond to climate change, habitat loss and declining populations of wild, native pollinator species. The sustainability of our local ecosystems, farms and food systems is linked to pollinators.”

The pollinator workshop for Shelburne will be held via Zoom on Thursday, May 6, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. The workshop will include an introduction to the Shelburne Pollinator Action Plan as well as the regional plan; a study of maps, locations and strategies for potential pollinator habitats and corridor linkages; and a review of opportunities for incorporating habitat into projects in town.

To register for Thursday’s workshop, visit bit.ly/3nrIBke. After registering, attendees will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Some towns already have pollinator projects in the works, and they will be incorporated into the regional agency’s efforts.

“The Franklin County workshop will be an opportunity for a broader discussion, literally, as we’ll be looking at regional pollinator corridors, strategies and opportunities, and reflecting on what we’ve learned from the culmination of the eight individual plans for the participating towns,” Farrell said. “The Franklin County workshop will be an opportunity for anyone who missed the town workshops to join the discussion.”

The regional Franklin County workshop will be held Thursday, May 20, at 2 to 4 p.m. This workshop will provide an introduction to the Regional Pollinator Habitat Corridor Action Plan; review the work done with participating communities; consider locations and strategies in Franklin County for potential pollinator habitats and corridors; review opportunities to incorporating habitat into community projects; and involve discussion with regional stakeholders.

To register for the regional workshop, visit bit.ly/3vqUXf3. After registering, attendees will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.


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