I Drink Toilet Water (and so do you)

Today’s blog is by Laurie Loftin, the ACC Water Conservation Coordinator, who admits too much

Yes, technically, I drink toilet water.  This unfortunate misnomer is often thrown about while on a visit to classrooms.

Let me explain.  As part of my job, I speak with students about all things water.  Topics vary depending on the age group and the educational standard to which I am teaching.  As a member of the Water Conservation Office, I have an additional agenda with these outings.  I promote the value of water whenever possible.  This is a building block to enact behavior change.  If one lacks the awareness of how important water is in their life, there is less motivation to protect it through water efficiency.

My visits start off simply enough.  I ask the eager learners where the water in their home comes from.  Excited little hands quickly shoot up in the air and the responses flow.  Kroger!  The store!  The sink!  Not the answers I am looking for.

I push forward, trying to fine tune my questioning.  Where does the water come from before it gets to the sink in their home?  The ocean is a common response.  After a brief talk about salt water, someone will suggest the river.  Now we are in the pool.

I press on, fully aware my questioning is no longer simple.  Which rivers?  By the time I leave the classroom, the students can name the three sources for drinking water in Athens as 1) Middle Oconee River, 2) North Oconee River, and 3) the Bear Creek Reservoir.

So, why do I publicly claim to drink toilet water?  And more importantly, why do I suggest that you do, too?

Let me continue sharing with you my experience in the classroom.  Recognizing I missed my calling as an interrogator, I keep questioning the children.  How do we get the river water cleaned at our drinking water treatment plant and then to their homes?  A future engineer explains to his/her peers that pipes move the water to their home.

Now for the confusion.  Perhaps it is in the way I word it.  I explain that the water coming in through their pipes is used in the kitchen sink, the shower, and the bathroom sink.  By now I should have learned to stop right there, but no, I continue.  “The same water that comes out at your sink is the same water that is used to fill your toilet.”  I can see when the confusion sets in, usually marked with wide open eyes, a look of bewilderment, and a scrunched up nose.  I prepare for the inevitable question I know is to follow.  “We drink toilet water?”

I mentally kick and curse myself for once again taking the students down this stream of thought.   Will I ever learn? To avoid phone calls from angry parents telling me their sweet child is now drinking water from the toilet because I said it was OK, I quickly explain that while the water is clean, there is no guarantee the toilet is.  Feeling rather confident and based on experience from having lived through teenage boys, I ask the students the last time they cleaned their toilet bowl.  No one has claimed to have cleaned the bowl.  Ever.  I am also happy to say I have had no reports of students imitating the drinking habits of their dog.

One intuitively realizes most homes have only one pipe delivering water to the home.  The system provides clean, treated drinking water for

Take a tour of your local drinking water treatment plant to learn more about your water.

all of your water needs.  The water at your kitchen sink is the same as your bathroom sink as your clothes washer as your flushing toilet.  No additional piping is installed to send a water of lesser quality to your toilet.  Similarly, the water used to keep your grass alive has been treated to drinking water standards.  A toilet and the grass do not need such high quality water, but it is less expensive to use treated water for these applications than to install completely new infrastructure.

Keeping in mind the water you use is all treated to the highest quality, identify ways you can use your prized water more efficiently. Ignoring a leaky toilet allows clean water to go to waste.  Watering during the middle of the day, besides being against the outdoor watering schedule, allows a large percentage of the clean drinking water to be lost to evaporation.

An understanding of where our water comes from is key to valuing it.  Knowing your drinking water source can influence how you interact with it.  In Athens, when you see the Middle and North Oconee Rivers are exceptionally low, realize your drinking water supply is low.  Think of ways to be more water efficient.  See litter on the ground?  Remember that carelessly tossed litter can easily blow into your drinking water supply.  Pick up the litter you see, even if it isn’t your trash.  It is your drinking water.

So, do we really drink toilet water?  I can only speak for myself, but I don’t drink water from the toilet.  I do drink the same water that is delivered to my toilet.  Rather than confusing this realization into a reason to make a run to the store for bottled water, I choose to place a greater value on the water coming into my home.  It is all of high quality, no matter how I chose to use it.  I can drink from my kitchen sink.  I can also drink the water from my bathroom sink or while standing with my mouth open in the shower.  Technically, I could drink it from the toilet bowl.  It is the same water, all good water, coming from one pipe.  We are all one water.

 

 

 

 

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Beat the Rush: How to Sign Up for ACC Water Services

This week’s blog was written by Ben McMichael, the creative media and education intern at the Water Conservation Office.

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Hundreds of people visit the Water Customer Service building each day from mid-July thru mid-August.

As the second week in June comes to a close, the realization that summer is almost halfway over is not a welcoming thought. With summer flying by, there are a few things here in Athens that are inevitable: finding fun summer activities, avoiding a heat stroke and on the same day getting washed away during a torrential downpour, and the Summer Rush here at the Water Customer Service Center. While these occurrences are certain to happen, what are the odds that the Summer Rush could be avoided to make more time for some fun in the sun?

The “Summer Rush” is what we have dubbed the time from mid-July to mid-August.  It is the time when University of Georgia students and other new residents rush into the water Customer Service Center to get their water, sewer, and trash services set up.  

Sign up for water NOW and BEAT THE RUSH!
If you are moving to Athens soon or will be starting a new lease, we encourage you to get your water service set up before the summer rush begins. Below is a graphic to walk you through each step of the process.  Keep it handy and download it on your smartphone for future use.  The information is also available at the Public Utilities website.

I am an established customer.  Does Rush matter to me?
If you are an established water customer, Rush affects you, too.  Hundreds visit the office every day during Rush, which makes the parking lot even more crowded.  It is sometimes standing room only in the lobby area.

Want to avoid the Rush crowd?  Try one of the other options available to pay your water bill:

  • Pay your bill online
    First-time users will need their water account number to set up an online account.  Create a customer ID and use that to pay bills online in the future.
  • Pay by bank draft
    Complete the bank draft authorization form and bring a voided check to the Customer Service Center. The checking account will be automatically debited each month for the amount of the water bill on the due date shown on your bill.
  • Mail still works
    Tear of the payment stub and use the enclosed envelope to send a check or money order to:
    The Unified Government of ACC
    Public Utilities Water Business Office
    PO Box 16869
    Atlanta, GA  30321-0869

Want to call us during Rush?
To better serve our customers, a Call Center is now in place with dedicated staff available to answer phone calls.  However, our team still must field hundreds of calls each day, which can result in longer hold times due to increased inquiries regarding about starting/ending service.  We know your time is valuable and will get to your call as quickly as possible.

We perform thousands of tests on our waters throughout the year to ensure the drinking water quality.  The reports are available online.  The Athens-Clarke County Public Utilities Department is proud to deliver this water to all of our customers, both new and old.  Welcome!

World Oceans Day

June 8th is World Oceans Day, a day where people celebrate and honor our blue planet. This day helps raise awareness about the ocean and inspires responsible action to protect this amazing resource that connects us all. Each World Oceans Day has a specific theme to focus and unite the various events taking place. The 2018 theme is to prevent plastic pollution and encourage solutions for a healthy ocean.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN) plastic debris has now become the most serious problem affecting the marine environment. Over 300 million tons of plastic is produced every year and at least 8 million of that ends up in our oceans. Marine animals such as sea turtles confuse plastic with food and accidentally ingest the debris causing serious injuries or death. Seabirds often mistake plastic for their prey, which causes starvation as their stomachs fill with the plastics. Animals can also entangle themselves in the plastic debris making it hard for them to move, grow, and develop.

The unaltered stomach contents of a dead albatross chick photographed on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Pacific in September 2009. (Chris Jordan)

 

Plastic entangled around a turtle hindering its growth and development.

The Deep-sea Debris Database, a collection of photos and videos taken from over 5,000 divers over the past 30 years, revealed that a plastic bag was found at a depth of 36,000 feet inside the Mariana Trench. If a plastic bag can make it that deep in our oceans than certainly all the other plastic debris can as well. CNN reports that by 2050, there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish. Plastic pollution in our oceans comes from a variety of sources including urban and storm water runoff, sewer overflows, coastal visitors, industrial activities, construction, and illegal dumping.

What Can I do to Reduce my Plastic Use?
There are plenty of ways for us to reduce our plastic use. Start by following the five suggestions below.

  1. Use a reusable stainless steel straw or a recyclable paper straw instead of plastic straws. National Geographic states that Americans use 500 million plastic straws per day. Since they are small and lightweight they rarely make it into recycle bins. Fish often ingest these straws and sea turtles have even gotten them stuck in their nostrils. (Note: this video might be hard for you to watch).
  2. Use a reusable shopping bag instead of relying on plastic bags. We tend to have a lot of reusable bags, it’s just a matter of using them. Try keeping some in your car or office to remind you to actually use them the next time you go shopping.
  3. Pack meals in reusable containers instead of using plastic bags and avoid using plastic utensils. Americans use more than 100 million plastic utensils each day. These utensils can take up to 1,000 years to decompose.
  4. Drink from reusable bottles instead of plastic bottles. According to National Geographic, globally we spend $100 billion each year on bottled water. Save some money and reduce plastic pollution by drinking tap water.
  5. Pick up litter around your community. Regardless if you live near an ocean or not, pick up litter. Not only will you beautify your community, but you’ll prevent litter from entering local waterways that eventually lead to the ocean.
  6. Support environmentally focused businesses like Saltwater Brewery in Florida who created edible six-pack rings for their beer packaging. The six-pack rings are 100% biodegradable and edible—constructed of barley and wheat ribbons from the brewing process.

People around the world participate in World Oceans Day through campaigns, initiatives, special events, outdoor explorations, aquatic and beach cleanups, educational activities, and even art contests. Here is an interactive map of all the events happening around the world. Below are some of the cool events happening here in Georgia.

The Georgia Aquarium hosted a 5k: Turtle Trot to raise money that will benefit the research and conservation of various marine species.

 

 

Visitors of the UGA Marine Education Center and Aquarium on Skidaway Island can tour behind the scenes at the aquarium, investigate microscopic invertebrates, encounter reptiles, interact with horseshoe crabs and learn about the incredible animals of Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary. Along the way you will learn stewardship strategies for caring for our oceans.

Celebrate Chehaw’s 5th Annual World Oceans day. The Mobile Touch Tank from Gulf Specimen Marine Lab will be there with a chance for children to meet and touch many different types of marine organisms. Guests will also learn about the different ways we can influence our oceans through games, crafts, and special activities (even cookie decorating).

Join Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island for a beach clean-up. You will help remove plastic and other trash from our beaches, keeping our oceans clean.

 

 

If you won’t be near one of these places to celebrate World Oceans Day, don’t worry. There is still plenty for you to do to participate in this day. Start by reducing your plastic waste. Follow the steps listed above or check out these eight easy ways from the Audubon Society.

 

5 Great Songs for National River Month

Today’s blog is by Laurie Loftin, who enjoys music by the water

June 1 begins National River Month.  What a perfect time to visit a river, whether it be to float down on a kayak or to take an early morning walk along the bank.  Bring a cooler, friends, and a playlist and you are ready to go.  To help you along with the music, I share with you my favorite five river-themed songs.

#5.  “Proving Ground,” Widespread Panic

OK, this one might be a stretch as a river song, but our favorite songs are often based on the memories we associate with a song.  The self-titled Widespread Panic album came out the summer I graduated from college.  I spent many an enjoyable day with friends by the rivers in Athens listening to the songs of this album.  “Proving Ground” talks about discovering just how strong you are when you are in over your head.  Jump in the middle of the river to find out just how tall you are.

River Fact:  Those rivers I lounged beside and in were more than just a spot to relax and plan my future.  The Middle and North Oconee Rivers are two of the three drinking water sources for Athens, GA.

#4.  “The River,” Bruce Springsteen

I recently got involved in a conversation regarding the best Bruce Springsteen song ever.  I fully backed “Rosalita,” the rebellious song about forbidden love.  My friend is not always as upbeat as I, so he picked “The River.”  Though I still throw my support behind Rosie, I can’t argue with his choice.  “The River” doesn’t have the same burst of rock-and-roll energy, but the haunting harmonica and lyrics of struggle always lead you to the river, a symbol of dreams and hope for the young couple.

River Fact:  In the song, the young couple marries and join as one.  The Middle Oconee and North Oconee River join as one to form the Oconee River south of Athens, just before Oconee County.

#3.  “Take Me to the River,” Talking Heads

Flowing back to the idea that memories make a song special, I turn to The Talking Heads, “Take Me to the River.”  When my son was three, Schlotzsky’s was a go-to stop for lunch.  This song came over the speakers and Dylan began to sing the chorus:  “Take me to the river, drop me in the wa-wee”.  Even though David Byrne clearly says “water,” my little guy could not pronounce “water” and loudly sang away with the carefree spirit of a child.  As an added bonus, the restaurant had a Big Mouth Billy Bass on the wall.  Dylan would push the button for the fish to sing along.  The song still puts a smile on my face, whether it is Dylan, David, or Billy singing.

River Fact:  The Middle Oconee and North Oconee headwaters, or starting point, are found in Hall County.   The rivers flow 55-65 miles before joining to form the Oconee River.

#2.  “Burn On,” Randy Newman

The song immortalized the Cuyahoga River in lyrical art.  Randy Newman puts music to what was once a travesty.  Almost a dozen times, the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio caught on fire.  Yes, water caught on fire.  The city treated the waterway as if it was an industrial sewer pipe.  The lowest life forms could not survive in the muck.  A fire on the river in 1969 attracted national attention, later sparking the enactment of the Clean Water Act in 1972.  Today, the Cuyahoga River is a source of pride.  Cleveland coordinates clean up efforts that have resulted in a habitat for more than 60 species of fish, beavers, and birds.

River Fact:  Every year, Keep Athens-Clarke County Beautiful organizes a river clean up for the Middle and North Oconee Rivers.  In 2017, 405 Rivers Alive volunteers came out to help clean up 21 sites. They collected 3.1 tons of trash, 1 ton of recycling, 1,440 lbs of metal, and 150 tires during the event!   Volunteer for the next Rivers Alive this fall.

#1.  “Down the River,” Chris Knight

I believe the secret to an exceptional song is the ability to tell a complete story in about five minutes.  “Down the River” accomplishes this with such beauty and subtle intensity,  the final verse still gives me a case of goosebumps and earns my Number 1 spot for Best River Song.  Close the door, turn off the phone ringer, and give the tale an uninterrupted listen.  Then you will understand why I have no doubt Wilson’s cousin will forever be looking over his shoulder.  Unfortunately for him, his alertness and caution cannot save him.  He will never see Walter’s brother coming.

River Fact:  In addition to supplying Athens with drinking water, the North Oconee and Middle Oconee Rivers are home to White Bass, Black Bass, Crappie, Bream, and Catfish.  Maybe these were a few of the fish Walter caught before falling over the boat’s side.

I hope the songs inspire you to visit a local river.  Not sure how to get to the river?  Check out the following options.

Visit the North Oconee River:  Walk along the Oconee Rivers Greenway.  Take a tour of the Greenway while listening to a podcast about the river.  Bring a picnic lunch and visit Dudley Park.

Visit the Middle Oconee River:  Go fishing at Ben Burton Park.  Float down your drinking water source on a kayak.  Walk along the White or Orange Trials a the State Botanical Garden of Georgia.

Share photos of yourself visiting the river with us on Facebook or Instagram, #LilyAnnePhibian.  Stay Blue, Athens!

Our Everyday Athens Superheroes

The 6th Annual National Infrastructure Week launched into the public sphere on Monday, May 14th, 2018 in an effort to raise awareness and educate the American public about the importance of our nation’s infrastructure. Infrastructure Week recognizes the positive influence that sound infrastructure has on our economy, society, security and future. In Athens, Georgia we celebrate our public workers for their daily commitment to keeping Athens’ infrastructure in running order.

These graphics are just a handful of those created and disseminated by The Steering Committee, which is the backbone of Infrastructure Week.

National Infrastructure Week informs the general public on the need for renewed investment in American infrastructure and spreads the word that now is the #TimeToBuild. The Athens-Clarke County (ACC) Public Utilities Department recently completed a widespread initiative to replace the 100-year-old network of pipes under the Downtown Athens streets. In commemoration of National Infrastructure Week, the ACC Department of Transportation and Public Works, Stormwater Management Program, Streets and Drainage Division, Public Transit Department, Landscape Management Division, and Public Utilities Department spearheaded an effort to visit local schools and educate students about the behind-the-scenes heroes of Athens’ infrastructure. ACC employees rolled up to nine different schools in four fascinating work trucks and two tractors which they allowed students ranging in grades K-5 to tour.

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The rolling truck tours not only enlightened students about the crucial work that goes unnoticed to keep our community running, but encouraged collective support for our public workers as we shift into National Public Works Week which occurs every fourth week of May. This annual awareness campaign takes place from May 20-26. The theme the national campaign this year is “The Power of Public Works,” and is set to highlight the importance and impact of the many facets of public works.

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Some of the students were surprisingly sad upon realizing that the camera car didn’t smell like a “poopy filled pipe.”

The ACC Public Utilities Camera Truck demonstrated how utility workers use technology to perform video inspections on new and existing sewer lines. ACC employees carry out these inspections to ensure the timely repair and maintenance of the hundreds of miles of sewer lines that service Athens-Clarke County.

3Two ACC Transit employees presented to students at J.J. Harris Elementary School about the importance of public transportation during the rolling truck tour. Touring the bus was a hit with the students (and not just because it had air conditioning). Fun fact: Did you know that UGA students and Athens-Clarke County employees can ride any Athens Public Transportation bus for free?

DSC00391Representatives from the ACC Landscape Management Division were also present to talk about their various roles within the community. It’s amazing how attentive a group of 16 kindergartners can be when a tractor is involved, but that attentiveness  quickly turned into a stampede of excitement when the students were given the opportunity to climb inside the tractor.

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The last truck featured on the rolling tour was a vacuum jetter truck. This truck uses the extendable arm you see in the picture to the left to keep storm drains free from debris like litter and yard waste, helping prevent an overflow of rainwater into the street.

As we move from Infrastructure Week into Public Works Week, remember to thank all of those public workers that you pass by! Athens and other communities would cease to function without the dedicated workers who keep our streets and water clean, and ensure that the city is running efficiently. 

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Today’s blog was written by Marilyn Hall, Senior Water Resources Planner.

Wh2O Ya Gonna Call?

 

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Real life Proton Pack!

Today I tagged along with the team of scientists working on our Watershed Protection Plan Update.  I was surprised to see how many different kinds of fish live in our urban streams.  We went to Trail and McNutts Creeks and collected fish samples to study.  Don’t worry, the fish were returned to their homes unharmed.

Here is how it works: Backpacks that look just like Ghostbuster Proton Packs send controlled shocks into the water that temporarily stun fish.  This quick time-lapse shows them in action on Trail Creek.  We scoop the fish up in nets, then determine their health, species, and relative population size.  The fish are then returned to the stream unharmed.  The Athens-Clarke County Public Utilities Department does a lot of work monitoring our streams to comply with EPD’s NPDES discharge permit.

 

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This large mouth bass may grow up to be a trophy fish if it has clean water to live in.

Athens’ Watershed Protection Plan (WPP) helps us efficiently implement watershed management programs that maintain or improve the health of our waterways as the community grows.  It was originally implemented in 2011.  In 2012 we started annual reporting, providing details on the implemented recommendations, progress on water quality improvements, and monitoring data.

One of the most important things about the work we do is monitoring changes in the streambank and riparian habitat over time.  This time-lapse shows how it is done.  We measure from the ground up every few inches across the whole stream in the same place year to year.  This helps us determine the impacts of erosion and sedimentation on the stream over the years.

 

Here are some other things the Public Utilities Department does as part of the annual reporting:

  • Wet weather water quality sampling to evaluate nonpoint source runoff. (Wet-weather event sampling occurs immediately after a rain event of >= 0.2 inches.)
  • Dry weather water quality sampling occurs after a dry period of at least 72 hours. We test for a pH, turbidity, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and other things.
  • Our Stormwater team in the Transportation and Public Works Department collects samples for bacterial analysis. They test for fecal coliform,
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    This Dobsonfly Larvae we caught in McNutts Creek is a great example of a benthic macroinvertebrate.

    which can get to streams through flaws in our sewer lines, animal waste, failed septic systems and other sources.

  • We do biological monitoring every few years for fish, benthic macroinvertebrates, and for an assessment of physical habitat. The biological sampling helps to evaluate the impact of water quality conditions and land use activities on aquatic biota.  (This is what we did today.)

The Stormwater Division does additional work monitoring and protecting our waterways.  The two departments work together to share data and identify potential water quality problems.

We will post the 2018 WPP on our website when it is complete.

My Favorite Type of Weed

Happy 420! Today is a celebration of my favorite kind of weed. This particular plant is just beautiful. The leaves are a gorgeous green color that spiral high into the sky. Depending on the species, the leaves are long and slender or small and wide. No matter the type, they all have one thing in common… the smell is absolutely intoxicating. I bet if you take a deep breath you could even smell some right now. I’m sure you’ve guessed what I’m talking about by now. My favorite plant is the milkWEED plant.

Female Monarch Butterfly

Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) is very special, as it is the host plant for the iconic monarch butterfly. Host plants provide a site for these butterflies to lay eggs and also act as a food source for the newly hatched caterpillars. The female monarch butterflies are picky. They ONLY lay their eggs on milkweed plants. Monarch caterpillars are just as choosy and ONLY eat milkweed leaves to help them grow and develop. Monarch butterflies cannot and will not exist without milkweed; it’s that simple.

Total Area Occupied by Monarch Butterflies in Mexico

Scientists determine the monarch’s population size by measuring the area of forest land in which they overwinter. Unfortunately, the monarch population has declined severely over the last few decades. Monarch Watch estimates that there are 50 million butterflies per hectare in their overwintering habitats. During the 2017-2018 season, monarchs occupied 2.48 hectares, meaning there were roughly 124 million monarchs. Nearly 20 years ago, in the 1996-1997 season there were 910 million monarchs butterflies. The graph illustrates the population decline. Even today the monarch’s butterflies continue to decrease in numbers. From the 2016-2017 season to the 2017-2018 season, the population experienced a drastic 14.77% decline.

Monarch Migration Map

There are several reasons for the decline, but the largest contributor is a lack of milkweed plants. Every fall, the North American monarchs east of the Rocky Mountains make an incredible journey to overwinter in Mexico. Some fly up to 3,000 miles to complete their journey. Along the way to and from Mexico the monarch must find milkweed to lay her eggs and for the caterpillars to feed. Without the milkweed, we will not have monarchs.

Monarch Caterpillar

There are over 100 species of milkweed plants in the United States. It’s very important to plant native milkweed species. One species of native Georgia milkweed is butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa). It’s a perennial with large clusters of bright yellow-orange flowers that blooms from May to September. It attracts bees, wasps, and of course butterflies. Milkweed plants are drought-tolerant perennials meaning once they establish in your garden, they won’t require much maintenance. Because they are perennials, they will come back year after year.

 

What can you do to help?
The answer is quite simple…plant milkweed. Start a pollinator garden which is designed to include flowers that provide nectar or pollen for a wide range of pollinating insects and birds. Make sure your garden is situated in a sunny spot and includes the following:

  • Native milkweed plants
  • Native pollinator plants that provide nectar for butterflies and bee’s
  • Plants with staggered bloom times so there are blooms for pollinators in the spring, summer, and fall
  • Basking rock so the butterfly can rest in the sun
  • Water source such as a shallow dish filled with water for the butterfly to drink

Similar to milkweed, there are several other low maintenance, drought-tolerant pollinator plants to include in your garden. Examples include in the following.

Aster – bloom in late summer through the fall and provides a nectar source later in the growing season
Bee balm – brightly colored and attracts all types of pollinators (butterflies, bee’s, birds, and insects)
Purple coneflower – provides nectar for pollinators in the summer and then becomes a great seed source for birds
Goldenrod – develops a beautiful gold bloom in the fall and grows best in sunny spots
Joe Pye Weed – reaches up to 7 feet tall and attracts bees and butterflies with its pink blooms
Verbena – low growing ground cover that thrives in high heat with little water.
Parsley – a biennial that blooms during its second year and serves as the host plant for the Black Swallowtail

Need Help?
Now is the perfect time to start a pollinator garden. Monarchs Across Georgia is a great resource for anyone looking to start one. Here you’ll find an online milkweed field guide, sample pollinator garden plants and layout, and a list of nurseries who sell native milkweed plants.

Bee enjoying the blooms in a pollinator garden

If you need some inspiration for your pollinator garden, visit the corner of Washington Street and College Avenue in downtown Athens. As part of their Connect to Protect program, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia at the University of Georgia is working with the Athens Downtown Development Authority to add pollinator plants to downtown street corners.

In addition to providing a vital habitat for monarchs, milkWEED and other native plants naturally require less watering and allow you to conserve water. So go out and plant the best kind of weed today…MILKWEED that is. Happy 420!