Butterflies, Bees Get New Garden
NC RESA Ag students plant pollinator garden at Newaygo County Welcome Center
The Newaygo County Welcome Center unveiled its pollinator garden in time for Memorial weekend although the butterflies will have to wait for the native plants to become established and flower.
The garden is a cooperative effort between the Newaygo County Regional Education Service Center AgriScience students, the West Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (WMGLSI), and the Newaygo County Welcome Center.
Over two days, more than 30 students in the AgriScience Program through the NCRESA Career-Tech program cleared an overgrown area in front of the Welcome Center on M-37, then planted native grasses and flowering plants to attract pollinators like butterflies and honey bees. The plants included...
...black-eyed susan, purple cornflower, butterfly flower, and wild lupine to attract the endangered Karner Blue Butterfly.
Sarah Pregitzer of WMGLSI, who supervised the planting, said the plants will flower some the first year, creep the second year and leap the third year showing a great display of color and butterflies collecting the nectar.
“These gardens are an important part of the environment. They are not only beautiful but provide a natural link in the ecosystem,” Pregitzer said.
The Great Lakes Initiative launched in 2007 to expand classrooms and strengthen communities while developing the next generation of environmental stewards and funded in part locally by the Fremont Area Community Foundation and other funders across the state.
The Career-Tech students learned how to plant in clumps, use newspaper as a weed barrier and how to plant based on flower color, blooming time and height of the plant.
Renee Wangler, AgriScience Instructor at the Career-Tech Center, said the work is a great project for students to learn about other planting techniques.
“They had an opportunity to clear the space, practice good planting techniques and then finish off with a watering system and mulch,” Wangler said.
“These Ag students came and worked hard first removing the shrubs and bushes that had overgrown the area. This garden will be a great addition to the Welcome Center environment. It will not only support bees and butterflies, but visitors to Newaygo County will also enjoy the colors for years to come,” said Welcome Center Volunteer Coordinator Wendy Sinicki.