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Nurture a Nectar Corridor

The next hummingbird or butterfly that hovers your way could be following a “nectar corridor.”

Certain species migrate over paths that stretch thousands of kilometres in length while pursuing plants that bloom sequentially — north to south in fall, south to north in spring. These pollinating pilgrims need nectar to fuel their long-distance flights. In exchange, they unknowingly transfer pollen from bloom to bloom. This process, known as cross-fertilization, ensures the reproduction and genetic mixing of wild plants and cultivated crops.

Today, this essential service is threatened by pollution and pesticides as well as by habitat fragmentation resulting from land developments like industries, parking lots, and shopping malls.

Many nectar corridors are no longer intact. Travellers must “island hop” across scattered habitats that contain little food. This lack of fuel is much to blame for dramatically decreasing populations among migratory pollinators. At stake is their future and the critical role played by pollination in sustaining natural communities and in putting food on our plates.

It’s time we rose to the challenge of nurturing nectar corridors back to health. Here’s how you can help:

Provide Pollinator Pit Stops

Invite pollinators into a courtyard or other parts of your school grounds where once the bravest butterflies dared not go. Make the invitation irresistible by growing wildflowers laden with nectar and pollen in containers of all kinds. The perfect project for inner city schools with scarce land and funds, container gardening provides wildlife habitat that is both productive and portable — a moveable feast.

A Square Yard in Your Schoolyard or Backyard

The amount of land at your command may seem too puny to make a difference in the grand scheme of things. But even a bounteously blooming square yard (or a square metre) could constitute a small but significant part of a nectar corridor. That’s where “biointensive gardening” — the practice of growing closely spaced wild plants in miniature plots — comes in.

Pollinator Plants