Leave the Leaves Promo Kit for Affiliates

Credit: Matthew Shepherd

Leave things a little wild in your city or campus this fall! Leaves, hollow and pithy stems, brush piles, dead wood, soil, and flower heads all provide important winter shelter for many invertebrates, including native bees. 

  • Bumble bees queens burrow an inch or two into the earth to hibernate for winter. An extra thick layer of leaves is welcome protection from the elements.
  • Tunnel-nesting solitary bees, such as leafcutter and mason bees, need narrow tunnels or other tiny spaces in dead wood, hollow stems, or brush piles.
  • Red-banded hairstreak butterflies lay their eggs on fallen oak leaves, which become the first food of the caterpillars when they emerge.
  • Woolly bear caterpillars tuck themselves into leaf piles for protection from cold weather.
  • Luna moth caterpillars spin their cocoons in leaves, which fall as trees shed their foliage and lie hidden on the ground. 

There is no “right” way to participate in leave the leaves. You can encourage your community to let leaves rest where they fall, make piles in the back corner of a yard or park, or use them to mulch garden beds. Just avoid shredding the leaves, and keep in mind: if they wait too long to move leaves around, that good habitat may become occupied by their winter residents!

Use the following tools to help inspire your city or campus to #LeavetheLeaves this fall!

Template Op-Ed

Download and customize this Word document to promote Leave the Leaves and your affiliate’s work.

Social Media Posts
  • Short Text: Are you interested in conserving insects at home? One easy first step is to #leavetheleaves! This fall, [AFFILIATE NAME] and other @beecityusa and @beecampususa affiliates are keeping leaf litter in gardens and yards. #beecityusa #[your city/campus hashtag]

  • Short Text: Leave the leaves! Leaving leaves, stems, and brush piles alone throughout winter provides habitat for pollinators. Learn more at xerces.org/leave-the-leaves. #leavetheleaves #beecityusa #beecampususa #[your city/campus hashtag]

  • Long text: Are you interested in conserving insects at home? One easy first step is to #leavetheleaves! This fall, [AFFILIATE NAME] and other @beecityusa and @beecampususa affiliates are keeping leaf litter in gardens and yards. 

    Leaves are often viewed as a nuisance to be removed from yards, but they are an important part of the ecosystem, providing food and shelter for many creatures. Leaving them in your yard provides habitat for overwintering beneficial insects like butterflies, lacewings and lady beetles. These insects will help control pests and pollinate your garden the following spring.

    Keeping leaf litter in your yard doesn’t have to be messy – you can rake leaves into thin piles around trees or into garden beds. Be sure not to shred the leaves, as this will kill any insect eggs or larvae present.

    You can further protect beneficial insects in your yard by eliminating pesticide use. These species tend to be highly sensitive to insecticides, and herbicides eliminate flowers and plants used as habitat and can even harm insects directly. In turn, protecting predators and parasitoids in your yard will help control pests!

    So, in addition to leaving the leaves, consider foregoing pesticides and embracing wildlife in your yard. If needed, the @xercessociety website has resources on habitat creation and alternative pest control!

    #leavetheleaves #beecityusa #beecampususa #[your city/campus hashtag]

Social Media Images

Bee City USA (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram -friendly format):

Bee Campus USA (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram -friendly format):

Help us empower communities to protect the life that sustains us! DONATE