Green Urban Initiative, Harrisburg, PA

On May 4, roughly 50 volunteers participated in the construction of the Wesley Union Community Garden. The garden, located at the Wesley Union AME Zion Church in Harrisburg’s Uptown community, is the fifth community vegetable garden developed under Green Urban Initiative’s Community Garden Campaign in the city of Harrisburg, PA.

20 garden plots were constructed at the site along with two plots constructed specifically for native pollinator friendly plants and a tool shed stocked with gardening tools. A 650 gallon rainwater collection system is slated for installation later on this summer.

Thanks to the support of Lowe’s and KAB, the development of this garden will not only help to feed families within the community but will also provide a gathering place, assisting the church in it’s efforts to combat blight and crime by engaging it’s neighbors in community activities.

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.