RVACG uses grant funds to help pollinators, get kids out in the garden

A few of the Busy Bees at their inaugural meeting at the River Valley Area Community Garden. Photo via Spring Green Area Arts Coalition

Sauk County Land Resources & Environment (LRE) and the University of Wisconsin Madison Division of Extension Sauk County are currently working to provide education programs and resources to help protect pollinators in the area. 

One goal of the group is to increase pollinator habitat. As part of the efforts, the county worked together to provide pollinator garden kits to local organizations and groups throughout Sauk County. The free kits were made available to qualifying organizations thanks to funding provided by the Ho-Chunk Nation and Sauk County. The River Valley Area Community Gardens (RVACG)  in Spring Green received a kit. 

The plants came from Prairie Nursery out of Westfield, WI, excellent native plant nursery, said Rose Ellen Schneider, and organizer for RVACG. Each Kit includes 32 native plants loved by pollinators. Plants are for well-drained soil in full sun.

The garden will be located on the northern end of section 2 of our perennial garden. 

Included in the kit are 32 plants which are early summer bloomers of Smooth Penstemon and Ohio Spiderwort; mid-summer bloomers of Butterflyweed, Wild Senna, Stiff Coreopsis, and Purple Prairie Clover; late summer bloomers of Purple Coneflower, Sweet Joe Pye Weed, Prairie Blazing Star, Bergamot, and Ironweed; Fall bloomers of New England Aster and Ohio Goldenrod, and the native grass is Prairie Dropseed.. Our plans are to expand that whole section 2 to native pollinator friendly plants over the next couple of years.

Pollinators like birds, bats, and butterflies don’t have an easy job. They are responsible for bringing us one out of every three bites of food. According to the University of Wisconsin Madison, approximately three-quarters of the world’s major food crops require or benefit from animal pollination. Pollinators sustain our natural resources and ecosystems as they travel from plant to plant to help them reproduce. However, many pollinator populations are in decline. There are a variety of reasons like pollution, misuse of chemicals, diseases and changes in climate patterns. Another large reason for the decline is the loss of habitat.

The Sauk County pollinator protection collaboration between Sauk County LRE and Extension Sauk County hopes to increase pollinator habitat throughout the County but also hopes members of the public are able to learn more about pollinators and take steps to help on their own. For a list of steps you can take, visit sauk.extension.wisc.edu and click on the Sauk County Pollinator Protection Resources page.

Schnieder said the RVACG plans to hold an open house for the community to learn more about the pollinator garden and see the plants progress. 

Busy Bees

The RVACG also received Eureka Grant funds from the River Valley A.R.T.S, formally the Spring Green Area Arts Coalition, to curate the Busy Bee Garden Club, a gardening and arts and crafts club for area kids. 

The program will use the grant funds for arts and crafts supplies. 

The RVACG held a meet and greet for families in the club on May 16, and the program will officially begin with planting and arts in June. 

“The Busy Bees Meet and Greet went great. Kids, parents and gardeners are really excited to start in June. Looking forward to it,” said Schnieder.