About Pollinator Protection

The City of Saint Paul is dedicating to promoting and maintaining a healthy environment for our community members. Pollinators, like bees, birds, and butterflies, are integral to our food systems and natural spaces. However, their survival is threatened by changing landscapes, pesticide usage, climate change and disease.

The City is taking steps to do our part in preventing pollinator decline through a variety of initiatives, such as planting pollinator-friendly plants and reducing pesticide use on city-owned property. The City also encourages residents to adopt pollinator-friendly practices; Natural Resources provides educational opportunities to learn more about pollinators throughout the year. You can find information pertaining to current policies and resources on pollinator protection below.

Education and Engagement Initiatives

Pollination Stations
The Pollination Station program is a network of pocket pollinator gardens throughout the city that serve as demonstration gardens and living classrooms at public sites with youth programming. Youth and youth workers may utilize Pollination Stations for gardening activities, community science projects, ecology games, and more.

White  sign reads "pollination station" with image of bumblebee

Bee Real Bee Everywhere
Saint Paul's two-year public art project, "Bee Real, Bee Everywhere," launched in 2017 and aimed to inspire conversation about the plight of pollinators in our community. The outreach cargo bike accompanying the project, called "The Office of Urban Pollen Exchange," visited libraries, parks, and community events for bee education activities. In 2017 alone, the project traveled over 150 miles to 30 events across St. Paul!

#BeeRealBeeEverywhere Bike - Black cargo bike with yellow bee designs

Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary Apiary
In the summer of 2015, the City and University of Minnesota Bee Lab  installed an experimental apiary in an enclosed area of the nature sanctuary. The apiary, besides helping Bee Lab researchers better understand honeybee health, is used as an educational tool for educating people of all ages about the essential role that bees and other pollinators play in agricultural production.

People in white bee suits surround a honeybee hive inside a chain-link fence

Blooming Saint Paul Gardening Efforts

  • Since 2016, planting projects of both new and existing garden sites maintained through Saint Paul Natural Resource’s gardening program have incorporated a minimum of 60% pollinator-friendly plants into the designs. In addition to adding pollinator-friendly plants, several species of Minnesota native grasses have been incorporated. Many of these plants support various life cycles of Minnesota’s native insect populations.
  • In the future, we hope to expand pocket and park signage gardens, which will consist of at least 60% pollinator and ecologically friendly plants, throughout Saint Paul’s East Side parks. Potential sites include Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary, Swede Hollow Park, and the Burns Avenue Park sign.
  • Our gardening maintenance program continues with the traditional approach of mechanical weed removal, helping to reduce our usage of herbicide at numerous City maintained sites. We do not consider every weed a nuisance. Dandelions, clovers, vervain and several species of milkweed are beneficial to our pollinators; therefore, we do not pull or treat each individual plant.
  • Our program continues to stay away from pesticide and fungicide usage both in the City's garden landscapes and our greenhouse by finding alternative methods to combat pests. We take preventative measures by sanitizing every pot, flat, and container in our greenhouse and only use fresh, sanitized potting soil. We also research how ecologically-friendly our annuals are to insects, and try to ensure that our annuals are bred for resistance to fungi, bacteria, and other pests.

These examples and preventative measures help us stay pesticide free, in addition to helping attract beneficial and native insects by keeping their health in mind!

City Policies, Pledges, and Resolutions

Pollinator Resolution
In  2016, the City of Saint Paul adopted a Pollinator Resolution. The resolution directs all city departments to cease using neonicotinoids (with exceptions for golf courses and premier athletic fields), include more native perennials in plantings, and advocate for its citizens to do the same.

Residential Beekeeping Policy
Read about the rules and regulations for keeping bees within the city. For questions regarding the policy, contact Animal Control at 651-266-1100.

Saint Paul Natural Resources Integrated Pest Management Plan
Our Integrated Pest Management plan combines biological controls, habitat manipulation, and other practices to focus on the long-term prevention of pests without reliance on herbicides, pesticides, and insecticides. Coming soon!

How Pollinator-Friendly Is Your Yard?

Want to know how pollinator-friendly your yard or garden is? The University of Minnesota Extension Office created a brief survey to help homeowners discover how their backyard measures up on practices that benefit pollinators.

Take the survey

Additional Resources



Xerces Society Pollinator-friendly practices for homeowners, gardeners, farmers, agency staff, and others
Pollinator Partnership National Pollinator Week, pesticide education, outreach resources
University of Minnesota Bee Lab Beekeeping, bee identification, prevention of bee decline
Monarch Joint Venture Monarch butterfly biology, threats, educational resources
US Fish and Wildlife Service Pollinator threats, pollinator biology, educational resources
MN Department of Natural Resources Statewide legislation, best management practice guidelines, pollinator population surveys
Pollinate Minnesota Beekeeping classes, advocacy toolkit, educational resources
University of Minnesota Extension Gardening for bees, beekeeping, bee lawns
Pollinator Friendly Alliance Bee lawns, pesticide education, educational summits

Last Edited: September 27, 2022