Don’t tell the town of Pittsboro, North Carolina, that you can’t make money off of pollinators because that’s exactly what Debbie Roos, Chatham County Extension Agent has done. Debbie has created a destination tourist attraction that sparks excitement about plants and pollinators. She’s done it using space that’s normally filled with run-of-the-mill contractor selected ornamental species in carved out planting beds beside parking lots, driveways and in front of a grocery store. In other words, less-than-ideal horticultural conditions.
Pittsboro’s Pollinator Garden Paradise draws a diverse crowd from in-state and out of state, across a range of age groups. As the town of Pittsboro knows well, pollinator garden visitors spend money: 87% said they spend money shopping and eating out in Pittsboro, with an average of $96 per visitor.
Debbie has also quantified how the Pollinator Garden has helped local nurseries: 74% of her pollinator program participants said they bought plants at local nurseries as a result of her educational programs, spending an average of $154.
Debbie is dedicated about marketing the garden on Facebook and Instagram. She also offers regular garden tours, pollinator classes and even has a Pollinator Day that draws 300 to 400 people. The garden features 172 plant species, most native to the North Carolina Piedmont. She wouldn’t be able to accomplish the job without a dedicated group of volunteers.
NewTerrain May 16, 2016.