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TDOT Celebrates Pollinator Week and Resumes Project Milkweed Orders

 In conjunction with National Pollinator Week, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) has resumed online ordering for milkweed seeds through its popular Project Milkweed offering. Last year, Project Milkweed distributed 779,601 seed packets across Tennessee. Plant species and seed material quantities are being offered like last year, with a maximum of 350,000 seed packets available for free to Tennessee residents. Orders will be filled while supplies last and can be placed at https://tnpollinators.org/milkweed/.

TDOT is also asking the public for feedback from last year’s Project Milkweed seed distribution. @myTDOT social channels will be posting about National Pollinator Week and encouraging the public to share pictures from their garden using the searchable hashtag #TDOTProjectMilkweed. In 2023, 130,903 individual orders for milkweed seed were fulfilled. Did your seeds germinate? Are you seeing blooms yet? TDOT wants to hear from you!

TDOT’s Pollinator Habitat Program was created in 2017 in response to declining populations of pollinator species due to habitat loss, pests and pathogens, exposure to pesticides, and other stressors. The program includes a multi-agency working group and partnership with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA), and the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA). One of the program’s initiatives, Project Milkweed, aims to address the single issue of restoring and preserving habitats in Tennessee for pollinator species through the planting of milkweed. Project Milkweed benefits a variety of pollinators, but most notably the threatened monarch butterfly, which exclusively uses milkweed as a host plant for laying eggs and hatching its caterpillars.

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National Pollinator Week is an annual event, marked across the country by education programs that celebrate pollinator species and highlight the ecological issues they face. The week occurs this year between Monday, June 17th and Sunday, June 23rd.  National Pollinator Week seeks to inspire the public about steps that can be taken to protect and restore pollinator populations year-round.

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