The city of Albuquerque is on a mission to save the bee population, and its efforts can now be seen on medians across the city.
Bright red and orange wildflowers are popping up on medians on busy streets and in neighborhoods.
“We like to choose flowers that are native to New Mexico like Black Eyed Susans and Indian Paintbrushes,” Solid Waste Director Matthew Whelan said.
The department, which maintains the city’s medians, launched a pilot project to plant wildflower seeds last year on a half-dozen medians on major roadways and in neighborhoods.
“I think they’re beautiful,” Ariana Pasillas of Albuquerque said.
“I think it’s wonderful. They need to brighten up the city more,” Sean Sanchez of Albuquerque added.
It’s a way to support the bee population.
Albuquerque is one of 82 “Bee City USA” affiliates, earning the recognition back in 2016 for the city’s efforts to establish bee habitats and raise awareness for protecting the bee population.
“Albuquerque is a bee-friendly city,” Whelan said. “We enjoy our bees and we want to do whatever we can to help increase that population, and doing things like this wildflower project—it really helps native bees and honey bees.”
The city’s bee-friendly title came as a surprise to many people.
“I’ve never heard of it, but I think that’s good because of everything that’s happening. So I think it’s a positive thing that everybody can look forward to,” Pasillas said.
Solid Waste said these native wildflowers that are finally blooming are also a more cost-effective way to care for the medians and fight the problem with weeds.
“It minimizes water use, it minimizes herbicides and pesticides,” Whelan said.
Solid Waste doesn’t know yet just how much money the city is expected to save with the wildflowers, but plans to plant more of them.