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November 20, 2017

11/10/2017 7:27:00 AM
Courthouse pollinator garden part of Bayer grant
Kayla Breese/River News

Elias Sandrock, Ryan Russell, Devin Allen, Bo Hopkins and Logan Irish look on as Oneida County pollinator coordinator Baerbel Ehrig demonstrates how to cut the sod for removal for the new pollinator garden.
Kayla Breese/River News

Elias Sandrock, Ryan Russell, Devin Allen, Bo Hopkins and Logan Irish look on as Oneida County pollinator coordinator Baerbel Ehrig demonstrates how to cut the sod for removal for the new pollinator garden.
Kayla Breese/River News

Bo Hopkins, Devin Allen and Elias Sandrock put a roll of sod onto a hand cart for Logan Irish to haul away in preparation for the pollinator garden at the courthouse.
Kayla Breese/River News

Bo Hopkins, Devin Allen and Elias Sandrock put a roll of sod onto a hand cart for Logan Irish to haul away in preparation for the pollinator garden at the courthouse.

Beckie Gaskill
Outdoors Writer


The plight of the pollinators, and their decline, is becoming more widely known and pollinator gardens are cropping up here and there across the landscape. But still more can be done. Just last week, students from Lakeland Union High School helped break ground for a new pollinator garden at the Oneida County Courthouse.

The project was made possible through a grant from Bayer. It is part of the Bayer North America Bee Care Program. This major initiative from Bayer looks to establish forage for bees and other pollinators across the country by funding the planting of wildflowers and forage acreage for those pollinators. The Feed a Bee program has distributed over 3 billion wildflower seeds for the purpose of increasing forage for pollinators to date.

Oneida County Land and Water Conservation applied for a $5,000 grant from the Feed a Bee Program. Land and Water received the grant and is using it to create educational gardens in four locations. One of those locations, the Healing Center in Three Lakes, has already been planted. The courthouse location was prepped this year and will be planted next year, as is the case with the Three Lakes Historical Society site. Another site at the Three Lakes Center for the Arts will be planted next year as well.

The grant from Bayer will fund educational signage at each location as well as to hold an open house at the Oneida County Courthouse location as well as both the Three Lakes Historical site and the Three Lakes Center for the Arts garden.

According to the Bayer Crop Science website, the initiative has funded 93 products in 36 states as well as Washington D.C. Grant rewards vary between $1,000 and $5,000. The Feed a Bee program is part of the Bayer Bee Care Program. Bayer has a 25-year history of providing products to combat bee diseases. Bayer also has an eye on stewardship by using seed-applied insecticides or seed treatments that help growers increase yields while limiting the amount of harmful insecticides that leach into the environment.

Next year, the remaining three pollinator garden sites will be planted with signage completed to help educate garden visitors as to the importance of pollinators and pollinator gardens. Oneida County pollinator coordinator Baerbel Ehrig said pollinator gardens are something anyone can do in their own yard to make a difference for all types of pollinators. It does not take a great deal of room and native plantings can make a great addition to any outdoor living space. It takes fairly little time for pollinators to find a new planting, as was evidenced by the pollinator garden planted as part of the Roadside Pollinator Garden project at the Three Lakes Winery. The garden was planted in spring and by late summer, Ehrig found two monarch butterfly caterpillars in that garden. Having more gardens across the landscape allow pollinators to find the right food sources at the right time of year to keep them healthy. Those looking for more information about pollinators and pollinator gardens can find information on the Oneida County Land and Water Conservation Department website, or by calling or stopping in to the department, which is in the zoning office in the Oneida County Courthouse.

Beckie Gaskill may be reached via email at bjoki@lakelandtimes.com.





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