SOUTH HOLLAND, IL–This spring, 17 South Suburban College staff, Green Club students and their families gathered together to kick off the college’s community garden clean up and to plant a special garden just for pollinators. The pollinator garden will benefit butterflies, bees and birds by providing food and nectar sources, as well as plants for butterflies to lay their eggs. The pollinator garden contains flowers and herbs, while the vegetable plots will benefit from insect pollination, which results in a more abundant fruit and vegetable yield.
The heavy jobs of weeding and digging were much more fun when families came together to make the weedy spot look gorgeous and become productive. Everyone was excited to meet each other and work together to share the tools and take over when someone else was tired. Cooperation was key to getting all 21 plots set up and ready for planting. Some people were better at digging up the grass, some people were brave and donned gloves and pulled the spiky thistles, and the kids really enjoyed saving the worms from the shovel.
“One lesson we all learned was the importance of Pollinators and that they are responsible for 1 out of 3 bites of food we take each day,” stated Alysia Robinette, the event’s coordinator. “Our pollinator garden includes flowering plants, water and a resting place for insects. We focused on growing native and non-invasive species with continuous blooms throughout the season and used only organic fertilizer. Families can take this knowledge home with them and plant their own pollinator gardens.”
SSC’s garden is now registered as part of the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge. This year’s challenge asks participants to plant three pollinator-friendly plants that bloom at various times during the growing season, that is, one during the spring, one in summer, and the last in fall. That way, pollinators will have food through most of the year.
“This year’s garden is just the beginning,” added participant Joanna Tassin, SSC. “Next year we hope to add another pollinator garden!”
South Suburban College is located at 15800 South State Street, South Holland, Illinois.