Syngenta Establishes Pollinator Habitats at Corporate Locations
“The gardens fit very well with our goals for employee engagement, education, biodiversity enhancement and local outreach,” says Volker Mittendorf, Ph.D., molecular analytics group leader at Syngenta in RTP.
Pollinators are critical to sustain crop yields and quality. “Unfortunately, populations of bees and other pollinators are dwindling, partly due to a lack of forage and habitat,” says Cathy Stone, who leads corporate real estate facilities management services at Syngenta in Greensboro.
Her colleague in Greensboro, Caydee Savinelli, Ph.D., agrees. “On a small scale, the gardens mirror the Syngenta Operation Pollinator program,” says Savinelli, who is the company’s pollinator and IPM stewardship lead. “The program was initiated more than 15 years ago, because we recognized that pollinator habitat was disappearing from the landscape.”
To date, Syngenta has established Operation Pollinator sites in the U.S. on more than 200 golf courses and 7,000 acres of farmland.
Operation Pollinator has been one of the big success stories in our ongoing work with sustainability,” says Jill Wheeler, sustainable productivity head for Syngenta, North America.
Like the Operation Pollinator plots on farms and golf courses, the on-site gardens feature plant varieties native to each location. For example, the garden at the Minnetonka facility, where Wheeler is based, includes coneflower, bee balm and other types of mint plants, wild quinine, yellow Indian grass, Appalachian sunflower and milkweed.
Two smaller gardens are in place in Greensboro; and a larger, 1-acre garden and arboretum, under construction at press time, will feature Syngenta products, walking paths, a stone bridge and a waterway.
“On a small scale, the gardens mirror the Syngenta Operation Pollinator program. The program was initiated more than 15 years ago, because we recognized that pollinator habitat was disappearing from the landscape.”
The pollinator garden in RTP is named the Native Prairie Project and contains nearly 40 species of plants. Syngenta employees started locally collected seeds in a greenhouse and planted the resulting 7,000 plants 15 to 18 inches apart on 0.4-acre plot this summer.
“It’s a lot more effort to start plants in the greenhouse and then transplant them, versus just spreading seeds, but the outcome is much more controlled,” says Mittendorf.
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“We’re providing bees and other pollinators gardens where they can thrive and showing people how valuable pollinators are,” says Stone.
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