Yesterday we successfully registered the Garland Community Garden and its surrounding riparian area as a certified wildlife habitat with the National Wildlife Federation.
Loving Garland Green (LGG) co-stewards this area with the Garland Parks and Recreation Department. LGG manages the garden area where we raise edibles and native plants that provide habitat for pollinators. Our Garland Parks and Recreation Department look after the riparian area that borders the creek as well as the grassy meadow in front of the garden area. [NOTE: We do not encourage people to wander in the riparian area as it is overgrown for a purpose—to provide habitat for many varieties of wildlife. It is not safe to walk in this brush.]
We do encourage you to visit the garden and take note of the wildlife that wanders into that area. Some of the critters that we’ve seen coming out of the riparian area include a large owl; a chaparral; opossum; armadillo; numerous bluebirds and other species of birds; and of course, many species of butterflies including Monarchs, Gulf Fritillaries, and Blue Swallowtails to name a few.
If you spot a creature down at the park we would love for you to go to our website and report your sighting—insects or animals. It would be even better if you can take a photo of what you see. If you have a question about the garden and what you’ve seen, CONTACT US.
To further enhance our ability to attract native pollinators, Loving Garland Green has installed a butterfly garden plot in the front area of the garden. It is stocked with native plants such as Texas Rock Rose; Echinacea; Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)—seeds have just sprouted; Turks Cap; sunflowers; Blue Salvia, Coreopsis; Blackfoot Daisy; Texas Lantana; etc.
We have also ordered a native bee house, which we will install (along with a small mud reservoir) on the trellis of our loofah tunnel. We plan to install this bee house on Sunday, April 24 when we celebrate our second anniversary (3-5PM) down at the garden. At this time we will also put up our metal habitat sign.
Bumblebee buzz pollinating a blackberry blossom down at the Garland Community Garden April 13, 2016
I've been thinking about joining some citizen's pollinator watch group for a while--ever since I spotted a bumble bee on a comfrey plant in my front yard about a week ago. Then yesterday when I saw a bumblebee bee buzz pollinating a blackberry flower down at the garden, I decided to it was time to start reporting.
Last night I came across a great citizen science project: BUMBLEBEE WATCH. I signed up and sent them the photo I took yesterday of the bumblebee.
A great citizen science project and a great adventure in nature for you and your children or grandchildren: BUMBLEBEE WATCH
What is Bumble Bee Watch?
Bumble Bee Watch is a collaborative effort to track and conserve North America’s bumble bees. This citizen science project allows for individuals to:
- Upload photos of bumble bees to start a virtual bumble bee collection;
- Identify the bumble bees in your photos and have your identifications verified by experts;
- Help researchers determine the status and conservation needs of bumble bees;
- Help locate rare or endangered populations of bumble bees;
- Learn about bumble bees, their ecology, and ongoing conservation efforts; and
- Connect with other citizen scientists.
Because these animals are widely distributed the best way to keep track of them is with an army of volunteers across the country armed with cameras. With any luck, you might help find remnant populations of rare species before they go extinct. Participating in Bumble Bee Watch is simple and you can get started now by creating an account via the “sign in” tab at the top of the page. Once you have an account, go out and check your garden, in parks, or any other natural areas you frequent for bumble bees. Be sure to snap a pho and then sign in and submit your data to the Bumble Bee Sightings form at www.bumblebeewatch.org. Have fun while learning more about bumble bees and the vital role they play in our environment!
Other ways you can help:
- Create habitat! You can find more information about how to create bumble bee habitat at www.xerces.org/bumblebees.
- Support local and organic agriculture. Many pesticides are harmful to bumblebee colonies and many vegetable and fruit plants provide great food sources for bees.
- Spread the word! Many people are afraid of bumble bees and other insects. Let your friends and family know how important they are and encourage them to take photos too!
Male Monarch in my hand October 2016
SPEAKING OF POLLINATORS . . .
Let us remember the Monarch butterflies. Soon we will be seeing them in the Garland Community Garden. The Monarch, because of its beauty and whimsical grace, is the flagship species, the poster child, to remind us of the importance of all pollinators who are responsible for at least one of every three bites of food that we eat.
There are many Monarch monitoring projects that you can join as well. For example, check out the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (www.mlmp.org ) and learn how volunteers and scientists are working together to understand monarch butterfly populations across North America. Anyone can join the MLMP. Kids, adults, youth groups, or families--monitoring monarchs provides a fun learning experience for all.