If you happen to arrive in Seattle or Portland, Ore., by plane this spring, you might notice dense fields of wildflowers and other flowering shrubs blanketing open spaces near the airport runways. “For the few people who get to see it, this is going to be amazing,” says Eric Mader, co-director of the pollinator program for the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, a nonprofit based in Portland. But human enjoyment of the scene is only a pleasant side effect; the intended...

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