BERLIN – In an effort to give bees and butterflies a boost Salisbury University students planted two pollinator gardens for the Town of Berlin last week.
Environmental studies students from Salisbury University installed two gardens full of flowering plants at the Town of Berlin’s spray irrigation facility on Purnell Crossing Road last week. The gardens represent just one part of a collaborative effort between a senior seminar class and the town.
“The whole town was really welcoming,” student Michael Omps said. “We’re glad we could actually do something and weren’t just sitting in a class.”
Students from professor Sarah Surak’s environmental studies senior seminar have spent the past several months working with town officials on green initiatives that could be implemented in Berlin. The class of 15 students broke into four groups, each of which focused on a different project. At a meeting of the Berlin Town Council earlier this month, students provided an overview of the projects. One group developed plans for a “Green Festival,” while another developed a reusable bag program for local businesses. A third group worked on a green business certification program for the town while Omps’ group designed and planted the pollinator gardens.
Omps said he and his peers worked with Jane Kreiter, the town’s public works and water resources director, to find an ecology project to develop. After considering the fact that the population of bees was declining, the students decided to establish a pollinator garden.
“Pollinators are in danger,” Omps said. “We wanted it to be for bees and butterflies.”
Kreiter found two suitable locations for pollinator gardens, both at the town’s spray site on Purnell Crossing Road. It was deemed an ideal spot because it’s not typically frequented by many people.
“We chose the spray site because there is so much available land there and it would not impact people in a negative way like if we planted them in one of the parks,” Kreiter said.
With the help of town staff the students planted two 10-by-10 gardens with sunflowers, black-eyed susans, purple cone flowers and other species designed to appeal to pollinators.
“The whole purpose is to attract bees,” Kreiter said. “Eventually we would like to also include bee boxes.”
Omps said he and his classmates were happy to work on initiatives that would benefit the town in the future. He hopes Salisbury University’s professors will offer students other real-life projects.
“I hope they do it more,” he said. “Maybe in the future they can continue with some of what we’ve done.”