National Pollinator Week 2013

It seems more common than ever that we are hearing stories of how the honeybee populations, as well as other pollinators, are losing ground to many different diseases, habitat loss and pesticides. Keep America Beautiful , our affiliate network  and partners are working in several ways to help these affected populations through some of our programs (i.e. National Planting Day) and educational materials.

The predominant theory offered by the EPA and experts from the global scientific community is that the declining health of honeybees is related to interactions among multiple stressors, including scarce food sources, diseases, habitat loss and bee management practices, as well as pesticides. Relative to the potential role of pesticides in pollinator health declines, the science is still progressing as we become more educated about what changes, if any, may be operative. Visit epa.gov to read more about this and other important pollinator information.

In Cartersville, Ga., Adairsville High School (AHS) has built a five-acre outdoor classroom and works with a beekeeper who houses several hives in a fenced in area of the garden.  Multiple partners, including Keep Bartow Beautiful, are collaborating with AHS to ensure the success and sustainability of the area.  The classroom, which is located behind the local high school, was built by the environmental science, construction, and the special education classes for use by BartowCounty school students grades K-12.  It contains an outdoor amphitheater, both raised bed and field planting areas and solar panels. It also contains a wind turbine that powers a well for pumping water to the garden and plant areas, as well as for operation of a simulated gold-panning operation, nature trails and bird-feeding stations.

The bee hive is a recent addition, and education programs are being developed.  The future expansion of this project will establish a honeybee colony to provide models for studies of pollination, genetics, and entomology.  The designated wildflower and flower garden areas will serve as excellent places for the pollinators to inhabit.

As National Pollinator Week comes to a close, let us keep in mind that not just bees, but bats, birds and ants are also critical to the pollinator population. Remember to protect these vital insects and animals.

*Photo provided by Keep Bartow Beautiful.

Keep Mansfield Beautiful Plants Flowering Crabapple Trees In Effort to Beautify Downtown

Located 30 miles south of Boston in Mansfield, Mass. community members and Keep Mansfield Beautiful worked together in mid-May to plant donated flowering crabapple trees as part of the “Don’t Just Stand There – PLANT SOMETHING!” campaign.

Thanks to Keep Mansfield Beautiful, these colorful trees will beautify the gateway to the downtown. Prior to planting, expert horticulturalists from Guerrini Landscape demonstrated proper tree planting techniques, which provided volunteers with the information needed to properly plant the trees.

Volunteers also placed whiskey barrels along the sidewalks of Main Street, each planted with a matching variety of vibrant annual flowers. Volunteers also worked on the Mansfield Community Mural project along the wall adjacent to the downtown business district and public transportation station.

Community Garden Project – Funded by 2013 Lowe’s Community Improvement Grant

Located behind Brunswick Community College Annex Building in Southport, N.C., rests a run-down vacant property that will soon be transformed into a more welcoming community gathering place. Vacant land can often attract vandalism and the feeling of being unsafe, which is why Keep Brunswick County Beautiful is working to build a large-scale community garden. This renovated space will become a place for residents to share a common bond. The garden project that will take place in Brunswick County will be comprised of 30- 40 raised garden beds – some of which will be elevated three feet off the ground to be wheel-chair accessible.

Each of the garden beds will be rented out to community members to tend individually or in small groups. Future plans include the involvement of local residents, college students and nearby day-care center participants. This community garden will provide children and adults a place to grow and harvest vegetables that they would not normally be able to grow on their personal property.

One unique aspect of the garden is the “community bed” that will be located around the perimeter of the individual plots. This border will serve as an area for renters to place leftover plants; once harvested, the produce will be donated to local food banks.

Another characteristic of the garden will be a 2500-gallon tank that will capture rainwater runoff from a nearby building and redistribute the water to the garden. The Solid Waste Department will be using locally made compost to fill the garden beds prior to planting. Kimberly Thompson, executive director of Keep Brunswick County Beautiful, recently saw and tested the compost. She referred to it as “Black Gold” because it was so hearty.

Plans for the construction of this multi-faceted community garden are well underway and should be completed later this summer. Community members, students and teachers will soon have an area to call their own and bring them closer together.