Native plant garden at public library hopes to ‘grow’ native pollinator species in Racine | Local News


ROOT – The buzz around town for all our local pollinators is to head to the local library. The Racine Public Library opened a native plant garden on Friday with the help of Nan Calvert, a native plant educator and expert on native plants and invasive species.

The children, along with the adults and Calvert, were invited to the public library on Friday to help plant 26 to 30 different species, nearly 700 different flowers and herbs, on the local library’s front patio, which until recently was a lawn. Children and adults planted the different plants provided by the library and Calvert.

Calvert said she and Julia Heiser, program and services marketing assistant for the library, have been in talks about creating the native plant garden, aka a pollinator patch, for a few months, with the plan being designed at the time of unveiling. from the library’s seed library in April.

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“The importance of having native pollinators here like anywhere else is that they actually pollinate over $3 billion worth of fruit (per year) that we humans eat,” Calvert said. “The other thing is that they are a very important part of the web of life. These native plants support so many native insects and birds to help build the diversity of life here, not just in Wisconsin. , but every time you put in native plants, you do the same thing.

Nan Calvert is holding a grama sideoats plant that shows signs of moss on it.

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Gabriel Amason

Gabriel Amason holds a plant he is about to place in the dirt outside the Racine Public Library, 75 Seventh St.

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Calvert noted that native plants have robust root systems that allow stormwater infiltration. Rather than rainwater being captured in sewers and eventually flowing into Lake Michigan, often contributing to polluting one of the largest sources of fresh water on the planet, the rain collected in the new 700-meter native garden square feet will be taken up by plants and roots. , cleaned and put in the Earth.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, more than 80% of the world’s flowering plants need a pollinator to reproduce; and we also need pollinators since most of our food comes from flowering plants. One in three bites of our food – including fruits, vegetables, chocolate, coffee, nuts and spices – is created with the help of pollinators.

Among the group of children participating in Friday’s events were members of the Belle City Catholic Service Camp, a youth group made up of several Catholic churches in the area that has also spent the past week restoring homes in Uptown.

Aj and Stacey

AJ Garcia-Malacara, right, and his mother Stacey Malacara work together to plant native plants outside the public library on Friday.

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Gabriel mid-jump

Gabriel Amason jumps on a shovel to create a hole in the ground while planting native plants Friday at the Root Public Library, 75 Seventh St. His brother and sister, Julian and Lenora, also members of the Belle City Catholic Service Camp, have worked restoring homes this week.

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“We don’t learn about native plant systems, whether it’s grasslands, forests or wetlands at school. So the only way our citizens will learn of this is when we do a service project like this or host a special event at a school or other institution,” Calvert said. “Wisconsin is home to such diversity, not only with plants, but also with birds, insects, reptiles and amphibians. We tend to teach kids about things that live elsewhere… but the species that live here are just as important.

One of the endangered pollinators in the area that Calvert and the library hope to attract is the rusty bumblebee. The bee’s population has declined by 87% in the last two years due to a lack of habitat, as the bee’s habitats have been destroyed by human activity. With the native garden, the library’s hope is to have the rusty bumblebee recognize the habitat and begin pollination there.

After disappearing for years from the Racine area, the Rusty Bumblebee was spotted again in Pritchard Park in August. Encouraging the spread of the bee is now the focus of conservation groups in the region.


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