2023 NAPPC Pollinator Roadside Management Award Winner

Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT)

Since 2010, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Pollinator Habitat Program has been committed to promoting the growth, preservation, and conservation of pollinators throughout Tennessee. This initiative achieves its goals through various means such as education, partnerships, and environmentally sound practices. In 2010, the program introduced Integrated Mowing Practices to enhance pollinator habitats and in 2016, TDOT 0.5-acre pollinator meadow and the installation of interpretive materials at Welcome Center I-65 Ardmore exit in Giles County. Recognizing the importance of collaboration, TDOT formed the Partners for Pollinators Working Group. In 2020, TDOT completed the second Welcome Center pollinator meadow, spanning 2.5 acres at the West TN Solar Farm Welcome Center. Situated along the highway, this meadow features educational signage and attracts approximately 300,000 visitors annually. To assist designers, academics, and the general public, TDOT developed the Tennessee Pollinator Plant Database Tool and Map in 2021. This resource provides valuable information for selecting appropriate pollinator-friendly plants. In 2022, TDOT introduced "Polli- The Bee from Tennessee!" The program aligns with Tennessee's K-12 academic standards for science and aims to promote pollinator education. Recently, in 2023, TDOT unveiled Project Milkweed, a response to the declining Monarch Butterfly population. As part of this project, TDOT offers free milkweed seeds to anyone in Tennessee, along with planting design and installation guidelines. Overall, the TDOT Pollinator Habitat Program's initiatives have multiple positive impacts, including the provision of vital wildlife habitat, the creation of habitat connectivity, and the enhancement of people's experiences and understanding of pollinators.