RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) received a Virginia Green Travel Star Award for Most Innovative Green Project for a commitment to green tourism practices through its Pollinator Habitat
Program at Virginia Welcome Centers during a ceremony last month in Arlington.
“We’re honored that the Pollinator Habitat Program was recognized for the role it plays in protecting crucial habitats,” said VDOT Commissioner Charles Kilpatrick.
Pollinators such as butterflies and bees are necessary for growing crops, but their population has been steadily declining. Waystations filled with pollinator-friendly plants like milkweed provide those species the environment needed for survival.
VDOT’s Pollinator Habitat Program began in 2014 through collaboration with the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy with four pilot plots, which were planted in
northern Virginia at park and ride lots in Centreville, Woodbridge and Sterling, and the Dale City Rest Area on Interstate 95 south.
A second Dale City project on I-95 north was
completed in 2015 through a partnership with Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and Dominion Virginia Power. It features a 15,000 square-foot meadow restoration, along with two smaller plantings near the rest area building that will serve as educational stations with interpretive signage for visitors.
Additionally, three new pollinator habitats were seeded with native plants in southwestern Virginia, and additional projects are planned across the commonwealth as the program is implemented statewide.
Travel Star Awards recognize the efforts of Virginia Green participants to promote environmentally friendly practices in the tourism industry. Projects were judged on uniqueness, environmental benefit and the potential for other tourism facilities to learn from the project.
More information about VDOT’s Pollinator Habitat Program can be found online.