CATCH THE BUZZ- PennDOT Pollinator Gardens

PennDOT drives project for Erie area pollinator gardens

By: Valerie Myers

This wildflower garden along Interstate 90 at the Route 8 interchange was planted by Pheasants
Forever Chapter 728 to provide pollinator habitat. [CONTRIBUTED PHOTO]

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation invites the public to plant pollinator gardens in northwestern Pennsylvania.

The department is asking the public to “adopt” plots of land along highways, at rest stops and at PennDOT facilities to plant, increase or maintain native wildflowers and other plants that help sustain the state’s butterfly and bee populations.

Pollination is vital to agriculture, but populations of honey bees and other pollinators have been declining both in the state and nationally in recent years.

Land in state rights-of-way can be ideal for new pollinator gardens, said Brian McNulty, district executive for PennDOT in northwestern Pennsylvania.

“Pennsylvania is fortunate to have a lot of green space along its highways and roadways, especially in the northwest region,” McNulty said. “Through PennDOT’s Adopt and Beautify Program, we can partner with organizations to identify medians and right-of-way areas to host gardens and habitats to bolster our pollinator populations as well as enhance the beauty of our state.”

Some plots already have been adopted, including 5.5 acres at the Interstate 90 interchange with Route 8 in Millcreek Township. Pheasants Forever Chapter 728 has worked the past year to create pollinator habitat at the site.

“We are excited to see the flowers blooming at the habitat this summer,” said Chapter 728 President Ed Moss. “It is our goal to keep it thriving for years to come for the benefit of Erie County residents as well as the environment.”

All types of plots are available for new gardens in Erie County.

“We have large and small plots and can find spots close to neighborhoods for groups that want to participate,” PennDOT spokeswoman Jillian Harry said.

The adoption program is open to clubs, schools, churches, businesses, families and other groups. It requires at least a two-year commitment to plant and maintain the garden.

More information on PennDOT’s pollinator program can be found on the Adopt and Beautify page at

Contact Valerie Myers at