Monday, May 3, 2021

A Journey to Community


Over the last 8 months or so, I have had the great pleasure of working with a Local Girl Scout Troop. These are middle school aged students, who have had to juggle a lot during this last year. In addition to their school upheaval, they had also planned to work toward their Silver Award, a high honor in Scouting circles.  Their proposal was to create a pollinator garden at the Parker Brothers Preserve on River Rd. in Pawcatuck.   This sweet garden-like preserve was a somewhat underappreciated parcel, and over the years, the invasives began to take over. It was looking a bit unloved.  As soon as the girls came forward with their ideas, it made me look at the preserve with new appreciation.  We ourselves began to try and uncover and recover its potential.   As the girls began their research and we consulted about their base plan, we stewards began to attack the greater problems.  Over this past year we have untangled many trees, rescued and rejuvenated berry shrubs and cleared some of the stone walls.   The pollinator garden took shape with help from parents and neighbors. Last fall they planted and this spring we have already welcomed pollinators to the early spring flowers.  In a few weeks, the scouts: Nora, Sierra and Kate and their families will celebrate their Silver Award Winning project. 

For them it wasn’t just about making a garden to fulfill a requirement. It truly was helping to create a benefit for pollinators, as well as creating a lovely spot for community members to gather and enjoy being outside again.

Please watch their video here.  Read their report and take some time to visit their garden at the Parker Brother’s Preserve.    Thank you to all involved.  Beth

A Journey to Community by Sierra Redfern

The star of the show - a Monarch!

We began the Pollinator Project looking to change our community for the better.  Make a difference together.  It started as a project for a silver award and became so much more.  We found that we could help others through this project. 

Last fall the preserve was
cleaned up and
the garden dug.
We started on planning our garden, researching on what plants
would work best. We divided the research between the three of us and attended a weekly meeting every Tuesday at 5.
  Once all of our research was finished we put our plan into action.  We dug up our garden and cleaned up the area around it.  Now we were ready to get our plants!

dog treat fundraiser!

One of our girl scouts, Nora, had raised money selling dog treats so we could fund our project, so we purchased our plants and began to plant them.
  They were all perennials so they could come back every year without our help.  We wanted our project to last a long time.  Our garden was planted but we weren’t done.  We still had to add our butterflies!  Because you can’t have a butterfly garden without butterflies!

We had to wait though because the best time to release these insects is near the end of April, so we decided we weren’t done quite yet with pollinators.  We all collaborated on a 3 part video explaining the importance of pollinators, why they’re going extinct, and how we can save them.  This was one of the most important parts of our project.  And once we were done we got to share it with local areas that wanted to help spread our message. (Editor's note: You can watch it here!)

Early spring bulbs welcomed the insects!
To bring some more passion to the garden we made signs for our plants, a care tip book, and painted rocks.  All to help bring our garden to life, and once our butterflies are released then our garden will have truly been completed.  Completed but not finished, the whole point of our silver award was to give back to the community, and our garden will help bring more pollinators to the neighborhood, bring people together, and make some new memories.

Getting donations from Stonington Gardens 
and Pequot Plant Farm

Planting in the fall

Later this season, there will be many more
welcoming flowers for bees!

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