Pilot program tests sunflower planting near freeways

Photo+1[1]A pilot program that put hundreds of sunflowers at the intersection of I-75 and M-46 in Saginaw County is being evaluated.

The goal of the project was twofold: to choke out some of the invasive species growing along the road and to help pollinator species find food.

Internationally 40% of pollinators have been listed as facing extinction and in Hawaii several species of bee were placed on the endangered species list just this month.

Jocelyn Hall is with the Michigan Department of Transportation. She said putting Sunflowers along Michigan roadways is a great way to help promote pollinators.

“So we are considering it to be a very successful planting. When we visited the site a couple times this year to check on the progress of the sunflowers you actually, even over the traffic on the highway, you could still hear all the buzzing from the bees who were feeding on the sunflowers.”

Hall said the project will continue for at least the next two years along the interchange. She said she’s hopeful the positive results here will eventually push more sunflower projects along Michigan’s roadways.