BEE The Change For Pollinators & Get Funding Too!

Minnesota's Lawns to Legumes grant program has helped fund more than 5,000 residential projects to support pollinators.

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Since launching in 2019, Minnesota’s Lawns to Legumes grant program has helped fund more than 5,000 residential projects across all 87 Minnesota counties to support new habitats for pollinators. Facilitated by Blue Thumb with the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR), any Minnesotan can apply to receive reimbursement of up to $400 to create native planting projects and support at-risk pollinators like the monarch butterfly and the federally-endangered rusty patched bumble bee, which is Minnesota’s state bee. Each Spring and Fall, a new group of participants gets selected to take part in the Lawns to Legumes program.

While a Minnesota program, Lawns To Legumes provides a wealth of educational materials that are worth exploring for anyone looking to encourage pollinators. Besides funding, the program provides workshops, coaching, and gardening resources. Online resources include gardening templates, habitat guides, and advice about selecting native plants.

Funded by the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR), as well as the Minnesota General Fund, the types of projects that can be reimbursed—and can potentially be a good idea in other states—include:
Native Pocket Planting: small native plant garden including flowers preferred by the rusty patched bumble bee. (Click the link above for more info and a photo gallery.)
Pollinator Beneficial Trees and/or ShrubsFlowering trees and shrubs with quality nectar and pollen for bees in the Spring. (Click the link above for more info and a photo gallery.)
Pollinator LawnA fine fescue lawn mixed with low-growing flowers to support pollinators.
Pollinator Meadow: a relatively large expanse of native plants, reminiscent of a prairie remnant. (Click the link above for more info and a photo gallery.)

BWSR is currently accepting applications for Spring 2025 Lawns to Legumes grants through November 30, 2024.(To Note: the program is no longer rolling over applications from previous funding rounds. If you previously applied for the program and were not awarded a grant, you will need to reapply to be considered for Spring 2025 funding.) Grant recipients will be notified in mid-January 2025. Apply online at Blue Thumb’s website. For more information about Lawns to Legumes, visit BWSR’s website.

For related news, read:

Lawns To Legumes Program Will Pay MN Residents For Pollinator Plantings

New Study Shows 57% Decline In Western Bumble Bee—And Why

The Landscape As Ecosystem

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