Sandy Myers 540-332-9201
Ken Slack 540-332-9264
Sept. 22, 2016
VDOT CREATES POLLINATOR HABITAT IN CLARKE COUNTY
STAUNTON – Thousands of pollinator-friendly plants have taken root at the Route 50/17 Park & Ride in Clarke County. The Virginia Department of Transportation partnered with the county and several conservation/advocacy groups to establish the first Staunton District site in VDOT’s Pollinator Habitat Program. Master naturalists, high school students and other volunteers gathered at the commuter lot today (Thursday, September 22) for the initial planting.
About 8,600 square feet of green space within the VDOT Park & Ride property near the town of Boyce was planted with more than 2,500 plugs of milkweed and other pollinator-friendly plants.
Pollinators such as butterflies and bees are essential for growing crops, but their numbers have steadily declined. This is believed to be partly due to a lack food sources along their migration routes. When the plants reach maturity, the Park & Ride will serve as a waystation for pollinators.
“This is a beautiful part of Virginia that will also become a functional habitat,” said Cliff Balderson, VDOT Edinburg Residency Administrator. “We’re proud to partner with our neighbors to create this site, and we’re looking forward to watching it grow and mature.”
“Clarke County is very excited about being selected for VDOT’s first Pollinator Habitat project in the Shenandoah Valley,” said Alison Teetor, Clarke County Natural Resources Planner. “VDOT has been incredible to work with and we hope other communities will participate in this program to help educate the public about the importance of habitat for the monarch butterfly and other pollinators."
Route 50/17 (John Mosby Highway) is a popular commuter route, and VDOT-installed signs at the Park & Ride will inform motorists of the conversation effort. Unplanted pathways will serve as trails inviting visitors to observe the habitat.
VDOT’s statewide Pollinator Habitat Program launched in 2014 and now includes numerous sites at Safety Rest Areas, Park & Ride lots, roadsides and medians. The program provides habitat areas for threatened and dwindling pollinator species, lowers VDOT maintenance costs, reduces erosion and stormwater runoff, provides sediment control and improves aesthetics.
The VDOT Staunton District serves Frederick, Shenandoah, Clarke, Warren, Page, Rockingham, Augusta, Highland, Rockbridge, Alleghany and Bath counties.
The Staunton District Twitter feed is at @VaDOTStaunton. VDOT can be followed on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube. RSS feeds are also available for statewide information. The VDOT Web page is located at www.VirginiaDOT.org.
Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.