Feature Story

Terasa M Lott
State Coordinator SC Master Gardener Program
Clemson University Extension Service

Lott, T.M.*1,
1 State Coordinator SC Master Gardener Program, Clemson University Extension Service, Florence, SC, 29505

An increased awareness in the importance of pollinators has resulted in a heightened interest in creating pollinator friendly landscapes.  Having previously written for the Post and Courier, the Extension Associate approached the editors with the idea of a feature story centered around reducing lawn area and increasing pollinator habitat. The editors approved the concept for publication online on Saturday, June 15 and in the printed newspaper on Sunday, June 16, 2019. The newspaper's website indicates it delivers 1.8 million newspapers a month which equates to approximately 60,000 per day plus online readership. Five images provided by the Extension Associate were included in the article although only one appears in the PDF.  The online article can be viewed at: https://www.postandcourier.com/columnists/gardening-reduce-lawn-area-increase-pollinator-habitat/article_0d09518e-8c6a-11e9-976f-b3babbe9250b.html. A link to the article was posted on two Facebook pages affiliated with Clemson Extension.  The first resulted in 4,724 people reached, 1,347 engagements, and 157 shares.  The second resulted in 4,408 people reached, 700 engagements, and 84 shares.

The objective of the story was to encourage homeowners to reduce the amount of turfgrass in the home landscape which has relatively low ecological value, with plants that provide pollinator habitat. The story described the reasons to reduce lawn area and detailed a project at the Extension Associate’s residence which reduced lawn area by approximately 625 square feet through two beds with transplants and one bed with a drought tolerant wildflower seed mix. Readers were directed to Clemson Extension’s Home & Garden Information Center (clemson.edu/hgic) and the Xerces Society (www.xerces.org) for additional resources on attracting pollinators and beneficial insects.