WBBA Marks 50th Anniversary of Earth Day Plus Arbor Day

Posted: Tue-Apr-2020

With The World On Pause, Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association Marks 50th Anniversary Of Earth Day Plus Arbor Day With Program Aimed At Healing The Planet

earth day globe in hand

As the nation and world looks to heal from the coronavirus pandemic, healing the planet comes into focus too with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, 2020 followed by Arbor Day on April 24. Before the health crisis, the Wisconsin Bed & Breakfast Association (WBBA) had already begun work on a program called “Pollinating Good Ideas,” with member inns around the state committing to doing their part to protect and grow pollinator populations and the environments on which they depend. The inns are following recommendations from the University of Wisconsin Extension and the international pollinator conservation group Xerces Society. The non-profit Society points to the fact that nearly 90% of flowering plants need a pollinator to reproduce and as much as one-third of the food supply relies on the work of bees. Whether urban or rural, historic or modern, member B&Bs have been planning for the planting season with tips from the experts as a way to honor the mission of Earth Day, founded by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1979.

This new initiative is very much in keeping with the way WBBA inns have long answered the call to find ways for travelers to tread lightly on the earth. They led the charge when the Wisconsin Department of Tourism first launched its Travel Green Wisconsin voluntary certification program a dozen years ago. They embraced farm-to-table long before it was trending, with many B&B owners regulars at community farmers’ markets while also sourcing from their own gardens. Innkeepers are also among the most enthusiastic ambassadors for the “shop local” movement as a way to leave a lighter footprint.

Westphal Mansion Inn Pollinating

 Westphal Mansion Inn, Hartford

How-To’s of Bringing Back Pollinators

The four principles of the Xerces Society’s “Bring Back the Pollinators” campaign include: grow a variety of pollinator-friendly flowers, provide shelter for pollinators, avoid using pesticides, and spread the word to friends and neighbors.

The WBBA also turned to the Wisconsin Horticulture Division of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension for expertise, referencing the Wisconsin Pollinator Protection Plan for specific ideas on how to deliver on the four principles above. Those ideas covered which native plants and garden herbs work to attract bees and butterflies, the types of nesting habitats critical to bees, non-chemical alternatives to insect control, and how to share ideas with B&B travelers.

Mindy Habecker is the natural resources/community development educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension for Dane County and she helped guide the development of tips for innkeepers.

white lace inn gardens for earth day

The gardens of White Lace Inn, Sturgeon Bay

“Once the world calms and people ease back into travel at small inns and B&Bs, I can envision guests lingering over a cup of coffee in a B&B garden, asking the innkeeper for suggestions on pollinator-friendly practices they too could try at home,” said Habecker. “I believe this simple, solid approach has great potential to be adopted by B&Bs on a national level.”

In our previous blog posts, we have shown you some of the best examples of B&Bs Pollinating Good Ideas, thanks to our WBBA member inns. Happy Spring!

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