Over the past three years, Xerces’ California Habitat Kit program has given away over 105,000 plants to partners all across California who are interested in creating habitat for monarchs and other pollinators. And we’re just getting started! This month launches the fourth year of our California Habitat Kit Program.
Running the California Habitat Kit Program along with my co-worker Jessa Kay Cruz is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. It is inspiring to read about the people who are working tirelessly to make their communities more pollinator friendly and the many different projects they’ve developed to use the kits in ways that will benefit people and pollinators. One of my favorite parts is meeting the kit partners when we distribute the kits in the fall. It’s fun to see how excited everyone is to get to work planting their kits and creating habitat for monarchs and other pollinators.
Through our kit program, we’ve been able to work with wonderful people from all over California who are dedicated to the conservation of monarchs and other pollinators (Photo: Angela Laws/ Xerces Society).
We’ve been able to work with some really great people as part of this program who have helped to create habitat in a variety of landscapes. Meet just a few:
Heather Bernikoff is a dedicated conservationist. She has been working tirelessly for years to restore and care for her land in the Sierra Nevada foothills, which she has named “Walappu' 'Uuchuthuu”. Heather has a wonderful blog about her efforts, and she often gets help from Xerces NRCS Partner Biologist, Deedee Soto. "The Xerces kits have become the centerpiece of my habitat expansion work," said Heather. "Not only have they reduced the planning time of choosing diverse, full season blooming plants for my location, they have acted as a template for others to establish their own gardens, thereby multiplying their utility beyond its original intent."
Sherri Wood is a farmer in Yolo County who owns Patchwork Farms and is dedicated to being a good steward of the land. She is one of the many kit partners creating pollinator habitat on working lands. In 2020, Xerces gave her kits to help her plant 1200 ft of hedgerows, continuing the great work that she has been doing on her farm to promote biodiversity. Sherri said, “We are very excited to watch over the second spring of our wildlife habitat hedgerow! Plants are showing great vigor and we look forward to lots of pollinator activity. Bees are already buzzing around.”
Mike Stake is a biologist with the Ventana Wildlife Society. His organization requested hedgerow kits for the Big Sur Condor Sanctuary, where they are working to conserve creatures big and small. “Growing up, I never thought that monarch sightings on the coast would become more infrequent than condors,” said Mike. “With the help of these habitat kits provided by Xerces Society, we are planting a better home for monarchs and other pollinators in our Big Sur Condor Sanctuary. Under the watchful eyes of soaring condors, these plants are helping to rejuvenate a land ravaged by the 2020 Dolan Wildfire. This project is the start of a comprehensive rebuild effort that will ensure continued protection of condors and the habitat for a variety of native species, like monarchs, that share the same sky.”
Ventana Wildlife Society was joined by 8 volunteers from Sequoia Ecological Consulting for a fun day of planting and condor watching (Photo: Mike Stake).
To date, we’ve provided kits to 144 partners across California who are passionate about creating pollinator habitat. By working with others, we’ve helped to create much more habitat than we could have done on our own. Many of our kits have gone to working lands like farms or ranches, building off of Xerces’ strong history of work with producers around the state. But our kits are also planted in natural areas, including land trusts, national wildlife refuges, and tribal lands. In cities and towns, our kits have created pollinator gardens at schools, urban farms, community gardens, city parks and other public spaces.
Interest forms for folks interested in our 2022 California Habitat Kits are available now on our website, and are due on April 15, 2022. Kits are available for people creating pollinator habitat on working lands or public lands in California.
Our kit program has been so successful that Xerces has started additional kit programs in Santa Fe, NM and in the Northeastern US. See our website for more information about all of our Habitat Kit programs.