The Boeing Company

Pollinator Prairie

Olathe, Kansas, United States

Certified Gold through 2024

Project Name
Project Type
Birds, Bees, Butterflies, & Monarchs
Pollinators
Annual Community Events
Awareness & Community Engagement
CCI Remediation and Restoration Project
Remediation
Bluebirds of the Pollinator Prairie
Avian

About the Program
Certified since 2013, The Boeing Company's Pollinator Prairie transforms a once degraded Superfund site into a community asset, attracting both pollinators and the public. Located in Olathe, Kansas, the site plays host to four pollinator-specific gardens and five native grasses and forbs plots. Through key partnerships with Monarch Watch, Pollinator Partnership and others, the team delivers a high quality outdoor learning environment open to the public year round and hosts several special events annually. Kansas State University's Johnson County Extension Master Naturalists and Gardeners (EMN) manage the gardens and monitor the on-site bluebirds, butterflies and bee species. 

Practices and Impacts
  • Formerly a superfund site, these 3.5 acres are undergoing remediation and have been transformed into a pollinator habitat which provides water, food, shelter and nesting structures for native bees and butterflies. This habitat is adaptively managed to control non-native plants with minimal use of chemicals. 
  • Native bees and butterflies are monitored in the habitat throughout their active period. EMN's use scientifically rigorous protocols to complete transect surveys and document their observations. SOme species observed include common checked-skippers, monarchs and orange sulphurs.
  • Nest boxes have been provided to support the native population of Eastern bluebirds. Boxes were placed carefully as nearby habitat features and proximity to other nest boxes are important design considerations. The efforts of the volunteers were rewarded with the first successful bluebird nest in 2019. 
  • Aligning with National Pollinator Week in June, the team hosts a two-day educational event to raise community awareness of pollinators and the Pollinator Prairie to teach about the impact pollinators have on our daily lives through a honeybee demonstration and arts and crafts station. Experts were on hand to answer questions and also provided a birds of prey exhibit. Six interpretive kiosks provide detailed information about the site and each garden and include QR codes that allow visitors with smartphones to access additional information via the Pollinator Prairie website. The team also organizes an event in September to educate the public about butterflies and other pollinators. This "Hasta Luego Monarchs" event highlights the monarch butterfly and its annual migration to Mexico; participants learn about the butterfly's life cycle and the important role native milkweed species play in supporting this important pollinator.
  • The Boeing Company also opens the Pollinator Prairie up to local master gardener groups who utilize the gardens and grasses and forbs plot as a learning tool for proper garden maintenance. Master gardener volunteers show their commitment to the program through regular removal of non-native invasive plant species and other site enhancement activities.

DEVELOPMENT OF THE WHC INDEX IS GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY