Planting for Pollinators in DC on Earth Day

DC resident Joanna Kendig talks to DDOE Director Tommy Wells about pollinators outside of the Metro on Earth Day.

DC resident Joanna Kendig talks to Tommy Wells about pollinators outside of the Metro on Earth Day.

This morning commuters across the District were reminded it was Earth Day when representatives from the city’s Department of Energy & the Environment (DDOE) arrived at 13 different Metro stations to hand out seed packets.

“Want some seeds to help us plant pollinators?” DDOE Director Tommy Wells repeatedly asked people on their way to work and school at the Potomac Avenue Station near Capitol Hill.

While some skeptically waved him off and kept their eyes glued to their smart phones, others enthusiastically accepted.

One mom, dressed in a green denim jacket and sporting green heart-shaped sunglasses asked her tiny daughter, also decked out in metallic green hair bows, to hold the seeds as they quickly made their way to the escalator.

“We’re wearing green because it is Earth Day!” she shouted.  “But we’re late for the party at her school!”



Another resident, a shy girl with colorful beads strung through her hair, told DDOE workers that the teacher was taking them outside later to “look at the Earth today.”

Joanna Kendig made a beeline for Wells (pun intended), happily took the seeds, and began asking how she could get better water access for the neighborhood’s planting projects.

“These will go right next to the milkweed in our beds,” said Kendig, who works at the Green Seed Community Garden.

“Do you know we planted some milkweed outside of the DDOE offices in NoMa,” Wells said. “The amazing thing was we got butterflies – monarchs – the first year.”

The seed giveaway is one of many efforts being made to enhance the city’s wildlife habitat potential, said Public Information Officer Julia Robey Christian, who arrived at the Metro wearing green butterfly wings lit up with blinking LEDs.  The city has committed to a larger Wildlife Action Plan as a part of the Sustainable DC project and will be working to install meadows and fortify some wetlands. They’ve also been working on some citizen science projects in order to better catalog what is already growing there.


Another giveaway earlier in the year had been extremely popular; more than 350 seed packets were distributed in a short number of days.

“People were riding the Metro to our building just to come get them,” Robey Christian said with a laugh.

Packets were comprised of seeds native to the DC Metro area, and each species was selected by a biologist on staff with DDOE.



One Thought on “Planting for Pollinators in DC on Earth Day

  1. vineeta on April 22, 2016 at 11:30 am said:

    What a terrific way to celebrate Earth Day.

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