For the 25th anniversary of Garden Walk Buffalo, Gardens Buffalo Niagara and the Buffalo Architecture Foundation are coming together to organize and facilitate a design/build competition of Pollinator Houses. The spirit of the competition seeks to bring awareness to the wide array of pollinators in Western New York. This competition aspires to generate awareness of pollinators of all types and challenge the notion of how these Pollinator Houses can or should look. The competition also encourages all to participate by becoming designers and advocates for these critical animal partners.
Pollinators have been increasingly threatened through the 20th and into the 21st century with the heavy use of pesticides, invasive species, disease and parasites, and loss of habitat. Specific issues such as colony collapse (bees), white nose syndrome (bats), climate change (all pollinators) have led to the severe population loss of many pollinators, across the region, country and world. Pollinators in Western New York include: native bees, butterflies, bats, birds, and other insects.
These animals are important because so much of our food and plants depend on these them in order to reproduce. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, up to 75 percent of the world’s food crops are dependent in some way on pollinators to reproduce.
With pollinator numbers in decline, having a pollinator house in the garden can help solitary-nesters by providing them a cozy home to live in and raise their young. Pollinators need large areas of habit to flourish– the more that can be done to protect and conserve native habitats, the more space these tiny environmental champions will have to do their important work. By providing habitat for pollinators to dwell, as well as planting a plethora of native flowering vegetation, providing a clean water and mud source, and limiting pesticide use, we can do a great deal to help out with the plight of pollinators.
The conclusion of the competition will result in an auction of all submissions to support both GBN and BAF’s programs. Each entry should address the needs of its target animal while simultaneously addressing the basic demands of an outdoor enclosure. A commercially available, pre-fabricated pollinator house that has been artistically decorated with high quality illustrations is desirable, but entrants are challenged and encouraged to submit, creative and innovative designs that provide a form defying convention.