By Tana Nulph, USFWS
The pollinators are buzzing happily at Ennis National Fish Hatchery as they enjoy the much-anticipated arrival of summer. And thanks to more than 250 new pollinator-friendly trees and shrubs we recently planted at the hatchery, they have plenty to buzz about!
This tree project has been a cooperative effort involving the hatchery's permanent staff, the Youth Conservation Corps members, and local elementary school students, who planted several of the trees for Earth Day 2011. The goal of the project is to add habitat for pollinators, inform students of the importance of pollinators and the challenges they face, and to improve the landscape of the hatchery using native vegetation. This project has reached many students, from the 2nd to 5th graders who planted the trees to their older siblings who tend them as YCC's.
Working hard to place the plants properly! (Photo: USFWS)
As the Youth Conservation Corps Crew Leader, I could not be more proud of this year's crew! These high school students have been working tirelessly to set up irrigation drip lines, weed around last year's trees and shrubs, and lay recycled wood chips down as mulch. This is a great project for everyone involved and will have lasting effects on both the pollinators and the community. Someday the YCC's will be able to return and see towering trees where they tended saplings in their youth!
The plants include Amur maple, chokecherry, golden currant, blue-leaf honeysuckle, lilac, serviceberry, and snowberry. They were all purchased from the Montana Conservation Seedling Nursery, which provides native seedlings for conservation efforts in rural areas.
Earth Day may be over but I'd like to close this blog with a challenge! Please do your part to plant pollinator-friendly trees, shrubs, and flowers that are native to your area. The pollinators are in great danger and we must do what we can to keep their populations healthy and active. After all, we need pollinators for some of our most favorite foods, including coffee, honey, and my personal favorite – chocolate!
Flowers attract all sorts of pollinators at the Refuge. (Photo: USFWS)
Tana Nulph is a SCEP employee for USFWS. She serves as the Youth Conservation Corps Crew Leader and is also in charge of outreach activities. She works at Ennis National Fish Hatchery in Ennis, Montana.