There's a little known endangered species right here in Philadelphia - the Rusty Patched Bumblebee! Along with other wild bee species, the Rusty is suffering from habitat loss. But - we have a chance to help the bees and make Philly a little bit more beautiful.
Throughout the city there are sidewalk cuts meant for trees but are now just bare. Whether the trees intended for those squares died or were just unwanted, these unpaved squares collect trash, grow some weedy grass in the summer, and are basically unsightly dirt pits. But they don't have to be!
I want to take these underused patches of dirt potential and plant natural grasses, pollinator flowers and provide burrowing holes for these cute little bumblers to reside in -- Rusty's Patches! Each patch will also provide some artistic signs providing a little awareness and an invitation for some citizen scientists to give involved documenting any sightings of the Rusty Patched Bumblebee.
It's a small piece of a larger vision I have to work towards making Philadelphia a Natureful City.
Tim Beatley of UVA promotes Natureful Cities - urban areas that try to incorporate nature in every space available. “We have co-evolved with the natural world, and so we have this deep need to affiliate with the natural world. We want it around us. We’re calmer, less stressed. We get lots of benefits from having nature nearby.”
Integrating nature into our cities in small ways have a big impact on the wildlife that we've displaced and the people that live in those cities. Through this project I hope to show it is possible to make small changes, adding bits of nature here and there, that will subconsciously make people happier and healthier. Hopefully, people who notice these little bits of "naturification" around the city will be inspired to see other ways that they too can add splashes of nature throughout their neighborhood.
And of course, in the process I hope to save a species - the Rusty Patched Bumblebee.
Funded by Philadelphia, PA (May 2017)