Butler Family Foundation supports pollinator seed initiative

As Great River Greening looks to expand pollinator habitat restoration in Minnesota, a limiting factor is the shortage of seed. This is due in part by a rising demand for local seed types, as well as commercial seed production capacity.

This shortage severely limits the pollinator habitat restoration work Great River Greening and other restoration entities can do.

Thanks to $200,000 grant from The Patrick and Aimee Butler Family Foundation, Great River Greening now has the support is to initiate a partnership of NGOs, municipalities and counties to establish grow-out areas as sources of nectar/pollen-bearing plant seed. These areas could be part of a habitat restoration, stand-alone nurseries, or greenhouse contracts for species that are difficult to establish by direct seeding.

The primary goal is to create a sustainable future for pollinator habitat restoration and conservation by creating local sources of genetically appropriate seed which could be harvested when commercial seed suppliers lack sufficient inventory.

Partners in the The Pollinator Seed Initiative (along with Great River Greening)

  • Anoka County Parks
  • Dakota County Parks
  • Dodge Nature Center
  • South Washington Watershed District
  • Washington County

The Pollinator Seed Initiative is a pioneering concept, with no Minnesota precedent. Great River Greening has worked with all of the partners on related restoration and pollinator projects for decades. Conversations on this initiative have grown out of those working relationships. We’ve discussed location and acreage for pollinator plots, site preparation to harvesting process, timeline, agreements on sharing the harvested seed, and the need for support. Each agency brings a unique and essential strength to the project, but all offer flexibility and can adapt as we navigate this new territory.

After the three-year establishment period, the project should be on a strong footing where seed collection and propagation can be sustained largely by this group.

Milkweed seeds Photo Sara Hines Creative Commons Lic.