VDOT News - Statewide

RELEASE:

CONTACT:
IMMEDIATE

Amy Wight
Office of the Governor
Amy.wight@governor.virginia.gov

CO-179815

June 24, 2021



VDOT CELEBRATES VIRGINIA POLLINATOR WEEK WITH FIRST LADY PAMELA NORTHAM

VDOT Richmond District Engineer Shane Mann, Virginia First Lady Pamela Northam, Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine place plants into a pollinator habitat garden at the safety rest area off Interstate 64 east in New Kent County.PROVIDENCE FORGE, Va. – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) hosted a celebration of Pollinator Week with Virginia First Lady Pamela Northam and Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine at the New Kent East Coast Gateway Safety Rest Area and Welcome Center. Located off Interstate 64 east of Richmond, the rest area features pollinator habitat gardens.

Earlier this month, Governor Ralph Northam issued a proclamation designating June 21 – 27, 2021, as Virginia Pollinator Week.

“Pollinators are necessary for healthy ecosystems and for growing crops that are essential for our survival, but their survival is under constant threat due to dwindling habitats and food supplies,” said First Lady Pamela Northam. “We have a responsibility to do what we can now to restore and protect our precious environmental resources for ourselves and for future generations.”

The First Lady joined Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine and VDOT Richmond District Engineer Shane Mann in planting common yarrow, sweet goldenrod, ox eye sunflower and two types of native grasses into the rest area’s pollinator waystation. 

“With more than 39,000 acres of roadside, rest areas, park-and-ride lots and other properties under its care, VDOT is in a unique position to make a meaningful difference for pollinators in the Commonwealth,” said Secretary Valentine. “Conservation practices such as these gardens benefit our environment, our economy, and our quality of life.”

Since 2014, VDOT’s Pollinator Habitat Program has created naturalized areas of native plants along state-maintained roads and properties that provide habitats to threatened and dwindling pollinator species. To date, VDOT and its partners have installed 23 waystations filled with pollinator-friendly plants like milkweed to support those species.

Environmental stewardship is a focus for VDOT across the Commonwealth. Supportive annual program practices reduce erosion and stormwater runoff while providing sediment control, use fewer pesticides, and improve aesthetics. More economic savings accrue by reducing mowing along some roadway medians known as conservation mowing and employing other vegetation management strategies, such as invasive species control and targeted herbicide applications.

VDOT, in partnership with the Department of Motor Vehicles, invites the public to purchase special license plates in support of the Pollinator Habitat Program. Wildflower and Protect Pollinators plate options are available.

In addition to the Pollinator Habitat Program, the agency employs a comprehensive strategy for bettering the health and beauty of the state through opportunities such as:

  • Virginia is for Lovers, Not Litter, a campaign launched in September 2020 to educate Virginia residents and visitors about the negative impacts of littering on Virginia roadways;
  • the Adopt-a-Highway program, through which volunteers clean litter on Virginia roadways;
  • the Beautify Virginia program, which enables businesses and organizations to sponsor a segment of highway for clean-up; and
  • Chesapeake Bay Watershed programs.

For more information or to get involved, contact VDOT’s Pollinator Habitat Coordinator Stacey Moulds at Stacey.Moulds@VDOT.Virginia.gov or 804-241-6242.

Online:www.virginiadot.org/pollinate 

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Page last modified: June 24, 2021