For decades, the modern urban sprawl of buildings, paved streets and malls has steadily encroached on the flowers, shrubs and trees that our flying pollinator friends need to survive.
However, a group of nature lovers from Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University), the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge and the town of Audubon, Pa., hope to restore the much-needed spaces for these creatures in Southwest Philadelphia, said Kimberlee Douglas, director of the landscape architecture program at Jefferson. The team is assessing opportunities to create “pollinator corridors” in the Eastwick, Elmwood and Paschalville sections of the city.
“A pollinator corridor links existing and proposed green spaces—in this case, in urban areas—to create ecologically rich environments to attract bees, butterflies, bats and birds,” said Douglas, the Anton Germishuizen/Stantec Term Chair for Landscape Architecture. “Philadelphia is along the Atlantic Flyway, which means migrating birds depend on our city to replenish themselves for their long journey.”
As part of the studio coursework, second- and third-year landscape architecture students research and design pollinator corridors, she said. In the latest development, student Hakeem Wilson ’17 presented his pollinator corridor capstone project, along with a representative from Audubon, to attendees of the city’s 12th Police District Community Meeting on Oct. 11. They solicited feedback about what these new green spaces should look like, which Wilson will use to further develop his project.
“What I find most rewarding about creating pollinator corridors is that its framework opens the door to new ways of thinking about the environment that we live in,” Wilson said. “As we make room for bees, birds and butterflies in our busy world, we also create more space within our streets, schools, parks and other community assets for us to enjoy a healthier environment.”