Sen. Padden’s office and Spokane Conservation District hosting pollinator-habitat workshop June 25

Area landscapers and other businesses or people who plant shrubs are invited to attend a free pollinator-habitat workshop on Tuesday, June 25, sponsored by 4th District state Sen. Mike Padden and the Spokane Conservation District.

The workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at the Spokane Conservation District headquarters at 4422 E. 8th Ave. in Spokane Valley.

People interested in attending are asked to RSVP. For that or more information, contact Padden’s district office at 509-921-2460.

“Pollinator-friendly spaces in urban landscapes offer tremendous benefits,” said Spokane Conservation District Director Vicki Carter. “Not only do they contribute to the beauty of our communities, but they serve as educational platforms creating an awareness about the crucial role pollinators play in sustaining our ecosystems by preserving biodiversity and reducing resource-intensive practices.”

“This workshop allows landscapers, builders and city officials to hear about ways to install pollinator habitats in new home developments, said Padden, R-Spokane Valley. “Pollinators, including bees and butterflies, play a very important role in the pollination of crops, contributing to the production of fruits, vegetables and nuts. They play a vital role in sustaining agriculture. We hope the workshop will help landscapers and others to learn ways to protect and enhance pollinators in our region, which is very important to both agriculture and the environment.”

Guest speakers will include Katie Buckley of the state Department of Agriculture, Beth Mort of Zinnia Designs, Aubrey Hoxie of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Services and Kristen Zimmer from the city of Spokane.

During its 2024 session, the Legislature approved Senate Bill 5934, a bipartisan measure introduced by Padden that aims to promote the use of pollinator-friendly shrubs or bushes in landscaping. The idea for the pollinator-habitat legislation came from Mount Spokane High School senior and Girl Scout Julia Costello, who asked Padden to sponsor the bill as part of a requirement for her to earn the Gold Award, which is equivalent to earning the Eagle Scout as a Boy Scout. SB 5934 was signed on March 28 by Gov. Jay Inslee, with Costello and her parents in attendance.

Under the proposal, a local government may encourage applicants for project or commercial-building permits to include pollinator-friendly plants in any landscaped area, and it may provide pertinent information about such plants.