Lookout Mountain, Tenn., and Lookout Mountain, Ga., are serious about their commitment to cultivating a more welcoming habitat for birds, bees, butterflies and other pollinators.
That's why on Sunday, May 20, the cities will host their first Pollinator Festival to raise awareness of the vital services these creatures provide.
The festival comes after council members from both cities voted to become Bee City USA sites late last year. The Bee City USA model, adopted from a national nonprofit of the same name, motivates communities to make the world safer for pollinators by embracing healthy habitats.
The festival will feature a wide array of how-to booths manned by community partners like the Tennessee Aquarium, the Tennessee Valley Chapter of Wild Ones and Chattanooga's chapter of the North American Butterfly Association, among others.
Attendees will be able to get free gardening advice from experts, discover the best way to eradicate invasive species, learn how to attract butterflies to their yard, and more.
"The purpose is to teach people how they can improve their yards and look at their yards as ecosystems where they can plant native plants, shrubs and trees to support our pollinators and prevent their decline," said Ann Brown, who co-chairs the mountain's Bee City USA committee with Candace Chazen.
During the festival, pollination posters created by students at Lookout Mountain and Fairyland elementary schools will also be on display.
The posters, made as part of the committee's first educational program with the schools, were entered into a contest, and the winners from both schools will receive cash prizes courtesy of the Lookout Mountain Beautiful Garden Club. The awards will be presented during the event by the mayors of both cities.
Brown encourages everyone to come out for the event because of the important role pollinators play in the ecosystem and in our day-to-day lives.
Almost all flowers depend on pollinators to flourish and reproduce, and experts say one in every three bites humans eat was made possible by the pollination of bees.
"The serious decline of pollinators puts our food sources in danger, and it also puts our wildlife in danger," said Brown. "The festival, really, is a community-wide statement about the concern for these pollinators."
The festivities will take place in Lookout Mountain School Gym from 1-4 p.m. Admission to the event is free.
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