USFS Eastern Botanist Jan Schultz: Cultivars needed, but native species plants best for pollinators

U.S. Forest Service Eastern Region (R-9) Botanist: Cultivars needed for world food supply, but native plants help pollinators and thus humans.

EarthKeepers II is an Interfaith Energy Conservation and Community Garden Initiative to Restore Native Plants and Protect the Great Lakes from Toxins like Airborne Mercury – across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and northeast Wisconsin – in cooperation with the EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, U.S. Forest Service, 10 faith traditions and Native American tribes like the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.

EarthKeepers II and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative are battling non-native invasive species that ruin ecosystems and hurt pollinators like bees and butterflies.

The EarthKeepers II Technical Advisor for Community Gardens is Jan Schultz, head botanist at the USFS Eastern Region (R-9) Office in Milwaukee, WI.

Schultz is sharing her expertise about pollinators, native plants, invasive species, cultivars and other issues related to a healthy ecosystem.

Schultz said the worldwide decline in pollinators — especially bees and butterflies — is all to real.

The reasons for the bee decline are varied but most involve human impact.

EarthKeepers II (EK II) is educating the public about the detrimental effects of non-native plants and reducing airborne mercury through energy conservation audits at 40 churches/temples — and teaching congregations how they can save energy in their homes.

EK II is helping plant 30 interfaith community gardens across northern Michigan and NE Wisconsin.

Native plant gardens being created by EarthKeepers II can help spread pollinators instead of invasive species.

Organizers hope others will be inspired by the project — making its reach even further.