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Best Earth Day Ever- Planting a Pollinator Garden at Plymouth State University

I had my best Earth Day ever maybe!

Yesterday I helped organize creating pollinator friendly habitat at Plymouth State University (PSU) as part of our Bee Campus USA designation. We put in new plants around the peace garden and in the raised beds around the office of sustainability. This was a team project involving faculty and students from different disciplines as well as community members. I am thankful for getting to work with Dr. Brigid O’Donnell’s Tackling A Wicked Problem courses focused on the pollinator crisis, last semester and this spring, with student projects directed at addressing the issue. Dr. Abby Goode‘s interdisciplinary capstone project-focused course on food systems had a motivated group working on creating the edible garden next to the peace garden. Brian Eisenhauer coordinated ALL the Earth Day Events including ours.

In particular, I have to pay tribute to the dynamo student- Dylan Perkins. The catalyst was winning a grant from the panther pitch to fulfill his vision of establishing a foraging garden. On PSU’s Earth Day Dylan arrived when I did, pulling his gorilla cart of supplies and he was still working when I had to leave, plus he had spent another day working on ‘his’ new garden. Dylan defies description. Watching his natural leadership skills- managing and motivating other students, in large part by serving as an example made my day.

Thanks to Kathy Tardif for her support for all activities surrounding the peace garden and for probing students to consider the link between peace and creating the edible garden- a place promoting biodiversity and accepting of diversity amongst humans. Community member gardener extraordinaire Dawn Lemieux from Sculptured Rocks Farm contributed knowledge and offered and planted specimens from her long established gardens, where she focuses on foraging. Brett Melanson of physical plant had compost delivered for us. Dr. Jolles consulted with students and checked on our progress. Thanks to the students in my Foundations in Environmental Policy class for stopping by for a tree tour and to check out progress on the new garden. Thanks also for my co-instructor, Rachelle Lyons, for running our class on Earth Day, consulting with students as they worked in groups on their final policy portfolio.

am so happy to still be having meaningful interactions at PSU even though I am a recently “retired” faculty member. Teaching just one class is so rewarding at this stage as I do not always feel like I am needing to rush off to the next commitment. In spite of all the crazy events in the world- war, pandemic, climate change- I am heartened by the young environmental science and policy students who have ideas, energy, and hope for the future. We will be doing more planting this spring/early summer and will be posting dates and times if you want to catch our next round.

We are recruiting interested students to help maintain our sustainable garden and plan activities that help promote pollinator friendly habitat for next year.

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