High Country Team 4-H Club members, parents and other gather to celebrate National Pollinator Week at the White Rock Community Garden. Courtesy photo
High Country Team 4-H Club members plant milkweed and other plants to attract pollinators in the White Rock Community Garden. Courtesy photo
BY LENA ZIELIE
High Country Team 4-H Club
In celebration of National Pollinator Week the High Country Team 4-H Club met at the White Rock Community Garden Saturday, May 21, where we had 11 club members and their families come out and work in the garden. This spring the club partnered with the White Rock Community Garden and a wildlife biologist from the Los Alamos National Laboratory Environmental Protection and Compliance Division to learn about the importance of pollinators.
Pollinators are organisms that facilitate plant reproduction by moving pollen from the male part of the flower to the female part of the same or another flower. Pollinators are responsible for helping more than 90% of the world’s flowering plants reproduce and are therefore critical to our food supply and the health and resilience of ecosystems. Animal pollinators include species of ants, bats, beetles, birds, butterflies, flies, and bees. Some researchers are concerned that there is mounting scientific evidence of pollinator species declines all over the world, and consequences in many agricultural areas could be significant if declines continue.
To address this concern and contribute to beautification in our local community, the High Country Team 4-H Club has been working over the last few months coordinating and planning an approximately 500 square foot Pollinator Garden within the White Rock Community Garden. They had applied for and were awarded a grant through MonarchWatch.org, for 32 Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) nursery plugs. Milkweed is an important is an important food source for many pollinator species and is the host plant for Monarch Butterflies, a species which has declined by more than 85% over the past two decades. These Milkweed plants plus the existing milkweed currently planted elsewhere within the garden, qualify the garden for full Monarch Waystation standing, currently the only registered garden in White Rock. Waterwise Gardens of Santa Fe and local families graciously donated many native perennials to help promote other pollinators to visit the garden by providing more diversity and a longer flowering season.
The White Rock Community Garden was created in 2012 as a joint effort involving members of the Summit Garden Club and Master Gardeners with the intention to establish a public garden where community members can garden, visit, relax, learn and enjoy nature. The garden has different planting areas to showcase various types of plants including native and xeric perennial plants and cacti. The Garden is an ongoing effort, with the hopes to one day add educational kiosks, and become a focal point of the community. The Garden is located on County property and is maintained solely by volunteers. If you are interested in getting involved with the garden please follow them on Facebook @wrcgnm
We hope that the community can also enjoy the work that these kids and their families have put into the garden this summer and the summers to come. We invite everyone to visit the garden this summer, enjoy the flowers, and hopefully see some butterflies.
Milkweed and other plants are placed in the ground at White Rock Community Garden to attract pollinators. Courtesy photo