The Brighton Pollinator Pathway Challenge

Pollinator Pathway

Color Brighton Green and the Town of Brighton Conservation Board invite you to join the pollinator pathway challenge to beautify your yard while you help our local pollinators.  Pollinator pathways provide corridors of critical healthy native habitat and food sources for butterflies, moths, bees, other pollinating insects, birds, also other wildlife.

Details on how to participate and the registration form can be found on the Town of Brighton Pollinator Pathways Website. 

Links to additional topics and resources:

The Pollinator Pathway is a national effort.  We have utilized resources from organizations including Pollinator Pathway National Organization Homegrown National Park Xerces Society Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners 

For more information contact:  [email protected]

Why take the Pollinator Pathway Challenge?

The United States has about 40 million acres of green lawns on privately owned properties.  This is an opportunity for Brighton residents to be part of a project to restore some of this land to more functional habitats with native plants to support our local pollinators.

According to the Homegrown National Park: “We are at a critical point of losing so many species from local ecosystems that their ability to produce the oxygen, clean water, flood control, pollination, pest control, carbon storage, etc., that is, the ecosystem services that sustain us, will become seriously compromised.” 

The US Fish and Wildlife Service explains the problem, “As native vegetation is replaced by roadways, manicured lawns, crops and, non-native gardens, pollinators lose the food and nesting sites that are necessary for their survival.”  The remaining forest and meadow sites have become disconnected making it harder for pollinators to find habitat.  

Together with our Brighton neighbors, we can recreate connected habitats. 

Why native plants?

Native plants support local ecosystems primarily by supporting food webs far better than non-natives. From perennial wildflowers to berrying shrubs to majestic canopy trees, native plants are not only beautiful but are more functional choices for our Western NY pollinators and wildlife. Plus, native trees and flowers typically require less fertilizer and water than lawns, saving you time and money! Learn more about native plants.

The most impactful plants – Consider incorporating into your yard one or more Keystone Species, native plants that are critical to the food web. See: Learn about keystone species

Phone apps for identifying plants

Phone apps can be a good way to begin identifying the plants you already have in your yard. Below are links to two free apps.  There are many apps – some free and some for purchase.  These apps are becoming increasingly accurate, but it is still worthwhile to double-check their answers either with a secondary app or with other resources.

  • Pl@ntNet  – reviewed as one of the most accurate plant identification apps.
  • Seek by iNaturalist: – reviewed as very user-friendly.

More resources for selecting native plants

Where to purchase native plants

Not all nurseries/garden shops have a good variety of native plants.  The below businesses are supportive of planting native species and will be able to direct you to the native plants you need.  Note that even with these locations you will still want to clarify that you are looking for native species for a pollinator-friendly yard.  

    • Redmont Nursery; 48 Eastland Ave, Rochester NY 14618; 585-406-0296   A Rochester-based locally-owned nursery specializing in plants, shrubs, and trees native to Eastern North America. Serving the greater Rochester, NY region. This is a seasonal store that sells at Flower City Days at the Rochester Public Market 8am-2pm for five Sundays starting on Mother’s Day, May 12, 2024. 
    • Amanda’s Native Garden; 8030 Story Rd, Dansville NY 14437; 585-750-6288 
      • This store in Dansville has some events in Rochester including the following two events.  
    • Native Plant Sale and Compost Giveback event. Impact Earth store: 1458 Monroe Avenue Rochester NY 14618 Sunday, April 28th, 9 am to 1 pm
    • Market in the Park Located at the corner of Mt. Hope and Reservoir Ave, 5 Castle Park, Rochester
      • Saturday, May 25th, 2024, at the Warner Castle grounds from 8:00 a.m. through 1:00 p.m. 
      • Rain or Shine. They have an excellent selection of native plants. You can order ahead if you are looking for specific plants and they will make sure to bring them to the sale. (585)750-6288 or email at [email protected]
    • White Oak Nursery; 4350 Kipp Rd, Canandaigua NY 14424; 315-789-3509 
      • White Oak’s mission is to introduce you to the full range of landscape and ecological possibilities by using native plants and making them accessible to you and the nursery/landscape industry.
    • White Oak Nursery; 4350 Kipp Rd, Canandaigua NY 14424; 315-789-3509 
      • White Oak’s mission is to introduce you to the full range of landscape and ecological possibilities by using native plants and making them accessible to you and the nursery/landscape industry.
    • Plantsmen Nursery; 482 Peruville Rd, Groton NY 13073; 607-533-7193 (Near Ithaca)
    • Broccolo Garden Center; 2755 Penfield Rd. Fairport, NY 14450; 585-424-4476  This garden center has native and non-native plants.  Be sure to ask for native species for a pollinator-friendly yard.
    •  Genesee Land Trust
      • They have a native plant sale every spring at Brighton Town Hall
    • Monroe County Soil and Water Conservation District
      • Annual Tree and Shrub Sale. Order January until March 1. Pick up at the end of April. Links are available on the home page or in the December newsletter.
    • Zantopia 1147 Main St, Mumford, NY 14511. (585) 478-0607 
      • He usually has many native plants and is at the Summer Brighton Farmers Market every Sunday

            Reducing your lawn

            A method for establishing a pollinator garden in a part of your lawn:  See: Ecology Landscape Alliance

            Spring and fall yard cleanup for pollinators

            Leave the Leaves!  Small changes in fall yard cleanup can benefit wildlife. Caterpillar cocoons and pupae use fallen leaves as winter shelter. Plan to leave some leaves on the ground, rake them around shrubs,  under trees, around rocks, stumps, edges, and on the ground where your perennial native flowers die back for the winter. They will continue to decompose come spring and summer providing nutrients to your yard.

            Don’t spring into garden cleanup too soon!   Some pollinators do not emerge until the days are warmer and they still need their winter shelter.  Try to hold off until the grass needs mowing, usually when the temperatures are generally above 50 degrees. 

            Identify and remove invasive plants

            Use the phone app that you used to identify the native species in your yard to also identify any invasive species of plants.  

            According to Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners, “In their native environment, there are insects and other predators that limit their growth and spread. However, when these plants are introduced to our area, the insects and predators that originally limited their growth are missing. As a result, these non-native plants can rapidly grow and spread. Our native plants exist in balance with insects and other predators. They cannot compete with the rapid growth and spread of invasive plant species and are displaced by them.”  

            Invasives Overview

            Invasive Plant Disposal

            Western New York Invasives

            Further Actions

            Now that you’ve gotten your yard sign…

            1. The Brighton yard signs are paid for by Color Brighton Green.  Consider a donation to pay it forward to the next neighbor.
            2. Add your address to the national map:
            3. Encourage Brighton neighbours to become part of the Pollinator Pathway
            4. Share your experience on social media
            5. Add more native plants each season and incorporate pollinator-friendly yard maintenance. 
            6. Work toward a second more extensive Pollinator Pathway certification through the Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners Program.  
            7. Explore Doug Tallamy’s Homegrown National Park website