Deliver Benefits to the Public

Celebrating the benefits of Pollinators at the Southern Research Station


Entrance to The People's Garden site in 2017. Forest Service photo

The Southern Research Station celebrated National Pollinator week by inviting guests and the public to get outside and take a stroll through the SRS People’s Garden to celebrate pollinators in Asheville. Pollinators from insects to animals, pollinate 80% of flowering plants.

The two-hour program was a cooperative effort by Forest Service volunteers, Buncombe County Extension Master Gardeners and Bryan Tompkins, Fish and Wildlife Biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who led a Bee ID walk. Experts were on hand to educate and answer questions.

The SRS People’s Garden, established in 2010, demonstrates the department’s mission of providing scientific knowledge to create a sustainable landscape and was inspired by the USDA Chief’s 2009 People’s Garden Initiative. The garden consists of native plants that research shows benefits pollinating insects and animals.  For example, research shows removing invasive shrubs increased native bee diversity and abundance.

The event connected people with the outdoors and delivered knowledge to conserve and maintain the important ecosystem function pollinators provide. A symbiotic relationship exists between plants and pollinating insects and animals.  Without pollinations, fertilization of flowers would not produce seeds and fruit, without seeds and fruit for human and animal consumption, animals would decrease along with germination of new plants‑no seeds, no plants.

The garden was a collaboration between master gardeners, Forest Service volunteers, community member and groups. Boy Scouts Troop 91 as part of an Eagle Scout project installed seven permanent posts for interpretive signs and a seating area.

Pollinators are declining and scientists are working together to study the cause.


Garden site in 2010. The area would not have supported many – or any – pollinators. Forest Service photo

Garden site in 2017. Native plants and pollinators are thriving. Forest Service photo by Julia Kirschman