Wilkinsburg Pollinator Garden Group

Picture of butterfly pollinating flower

because life matters...

About Wilkinsburg Pollinator Garden Group

For more information about the July 25, 2021 Garden Tour, pollinators in general, or Wilkinsburg, keep scrolling...

Garden Tour 2021: Sunday, July 25!

The Wilkinsburg Pollinator Garden Group 2021 Garden Tour will be spectacular. Note, some of these gardens are only open on the date of the tour or by private arrangement otherwise!

Click here for 2021 Tour Brochure (PDF)

The Garden tour is FREE! But please help us plan by registering:

Clicking this eventbrite link will take you to the registration page -- and also to more info!

Map of the Garden Tour:

Map of the Wilkinsburg Pollinator Garden Group 2021 Garden Tour

Click here for a PDF version of the 2021 Garden Tour map

Wilkinsburg Backyard Habitat & Pollinator Garden Interest Form

The Wilkinsburg Pollinator Garden Group and Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania (ASWP) are offering 30 free Certified Backyard Habitat with pollinator gardens for Wilkinsburg residents. Please fill out this form to express interest. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and be fulfilled in the order of enrollment.

Thanks to funding from the PA Department of Environmental Protection, 30 Certified Backyard Habitats (CBH) will be created in Wilkinsburg. Participating households will receive pollinator bundles of native plants (over $100 value), and also be enrolled in ASWP's CBH program.

The CBH program helps people to transform their yards and patios into an oasis for pollinators and birds. By creating Backyard Habitats, residents not only get to enjoy more natural beauty, but also support local wildlife. These gardens bring other bonuses, like reducing stormwater runoff and improving air and water quality. You must be a resident of Wilkinsburg to qualify. The 2021 season is limited to 30 participating households.

If you are a Wilkinsburg resident and you are really interested please complete the >Wilkinsburg Backyard Habitat & Pollinator Garden Interest Form below:

Contact info (get involved!) and donate!

Contact info

If you want more information please contact us at:


If you want to donate please contact us at:


If you want to join our pollinator group please contact us at:


What is a pollinator?:

Picture of bee on flower

A pollinator is an animal that moves pollen from the male anther of a flower to the female stigma of a flower. This helps to bring about fertilization of the ovules in the flower by the male gametes from the pollen grains. There are many types of pollinators, including honeybees, humming birds, other insects and birds, and even humans!

So, what is Wilkinsburg Pollinator Garden Group?

The Wilkinsburg pollinators are a somewahat informal group dedicated to improving the environmental nature of Wilkinsburg Burough.

Why do we need Pollinator gardens?

In addition to serving as beautification projects, creating pollinator gardens is truly an act of environmental responsibility. The gardens can be adapted to a variety of lots, soils and terrains. By using many types of flowering plants that are indigenous to the region, the gardens attract birds and a wide variety of insect pollinators whose activities benefit the area’s ecosystem.

Worldwide evidence shows that pollinator populations (for example, bees, wasps, beetles, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds) are declining, especially of concern for many food crops is the honeybee. Although many factors contribute to the decline, the destruction of and lack of habitat is certainly one, especially in urban settings. Pollinators are critical parts of the natural environment and are essential for the production of the fruits and vegetables that humans eat. Habitats may not be widely available in the setting of urban and suburban development. Consequently, creating those friendly environments will encourage the growth and sustainability of these important pollinator populations. In addition, educating young people about the significance of pollinators to ecological systems and the dependence of humans on them for their food is an important contribution to any society.

Background on the Wilkinsburg Community

Wilkinsburg PA is a borough in Allegheny County adjacent to the city of Pittsburgh. Its current population is about 15,500. According to the 2010 Census, about 67% of the population are African American, 28% Caucasian, almost 2% Hispanic or Latino, and the remaining 5 % Asian, Native American or multi-racial. Poverty affects about 32% of those under age 18 and 12% of those 65 or over. Working with this community aligns with the Sierra Club’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts. Approximately 200 Sierra Club members live in Wilkinsburg. There are 7236 properties in the borough, about 980 (13.5 percent) of the properties are vacant lots. Demolition of houses that were built at the beginning of the last century has cleared land for renewed use. Where there were blocks of vacant houses, demolition in the context of planning--almost one hundred houses during years 2016 and 2017-- has created new possibilities. The borough’s Comprehensive Plan, adopted by the borough council in 2011, made “safe, clean and green” a high-priority strategy. “Implementation of green and sustainable action strategies will require a collaborative effort among Borough officials, local and regional organizations, and citizen groups.” The removal of blighted property has encouraged residents to make gardens on the lots newly vacant and to speak up for keeping some land in their neighborhoods green and open for gardening, picnic tables and other informal use when new houses are built. The borough’s multi-use parks are Hunter and (to be reconstructed) Whitney. Playgrounds are Ferguson, Holmes Street and Park Avenue. Passive parks are Taylor, Rosa Parks, and (in litigation) Green Street. Lots used as neighborhood gardens can complement the named parks and keep pollinators alive throughout the borough.

Background on the Pollinator Garden Group.

In March of 2017, the Allegheny Group of the Sierra Club invited Sierra Club members living in Wilkinsburg to a meeting to discuss installing Pollinator Gardens in the community. About a dozen residents attended. A great deal of enthusiasm was generated. Several attendees indicated they had vacant lot areas and landscaping around a locally restored mansion that would be perfect for our project. In 2017 and 2018, the group received grants from the Sierra Club’s Huplits Wildlife Foundation for a total of about $16,000 which allowed us to support the creation of the gardens shown on this website. Thanks to Clif McGill, we published calendars and greeting cards showcasing the beautiful flowers and pollinators that visited our gardens.

Anyone is welcome to join our group and participate in our monthly Zoom meetings – the second Wednesday of the month from 6:30pm – 8pm. If you are interested, please send your name and email address to Nicole Santella or Barb Grover (barbgrover1@gmail.com) so we can send you the Zoom link.

The ultimate aim of our group is to:

1.Create an inviting habitat for bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other wildlife in an urban setting.

2.Transform vacant lots into green spaces where people can rest, relax, and enjoy observing nature in action.

3.Educate residents, especially young people, about the importance of pollinators in ecosystems.

4.Provide opportunities for residents to identify specific plants that attract pollinators so they can add those plants to their own gardens.

More about Wilkinsburg

Wilkinsburg is located in and around a beautiful valley.

The area is ecologically part of the Appalachian woodlands.

Here is a picture from autumn 2014, from the Wikipedia article on Wilkinsburg:

Picture of Wilkinsburg showing business district in the valley