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Lambertville Public School

10/12/2009

Valid from 10/09/2009

Lambertville Public School and Lambertville Goes Wild Partner to Create Wildlife Garden

10/16/2018

On October 2, over 100 Lambertville Public School (LPS) students from pre-school through sixth grade planted 103 native plants to create a garden for wildlife.  This effort was spearheaded by First Grade Teacher and Wildlife Garden Coordinator Chelsea Gardiner, with strong support from Principal Wanda Quinones.  Many other teachers participated in planning for the garden, and for the inclusion of the garden in the school's curriculum. The garden is now a Certified Schoolyard Habitat with the National Wildlife Federation's Garden for Wildlife program (https://www.nwf.org/Garden-For-Wildlife.aspx ).

 

School personnel partnered with Mary Anne Borge and Lauren Kovacs of Lambertville Goes Wild, a volunteer group promoting wider use of native plants as a key part of its aim to certify the City of Lambertville, New Jersey, as a Community Wildlife Habitat recognized by the National Wildlife Federation.  The LPS Wildlife Garden is an important milestone in achieving Lambertville's certification.  To learn more about Lambertville Goes Wild, visit their website:  https://lambertvillegoeswild.weebly.com/ .

 

A wildlife garden provides the food, shelter and water that our local birds, butterflies, bees and other wildlife need to survive.  Animals have much more restricted diets than people do.  One well-known example is the Monarch butterfly.  While the butterflies can drink nectar from many different flowers, their caterpillars can only survive if they eat the leaves of milkweed plants. If we didn't have milkweed, we wouldn't have Monarch butterflies. What is less well known is that most butterfly and moth caterpillars, and even many bees and other insects, have very specialized plant-based diets.  They depend on the availability of the plants with which they evolved for their continued existence. In return, many insects and some birds (especially hummingbirds) help to pollinate the flowers at which they feed, helping the plant species to continue to thrive.  

 

All of the plants in the LPS Wildlife Garden are native to this area, so they are adapted to do well in our local soil and climate without the need for fertilizers.  They were selected to provide maximum value for wildlife and interest for students.  There will be something in bloom from mid-April through early December, starting with Spicebush and ending with Witch-hazel, ensuring that there will a continuous source of food for pollinators.  The garden has Beebalm and Cardinal Flower, both favorites of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.  There are at least six species that provide food for butterfly caterpillars.  In addition to Butterflyweed (a type of milkweed) for Monarchs, Spicebush, Plantain-leaved Pussytoes, Golden Alexander, Blue False Indigo, and Blue Wood Aster all have the potential to attract butterfly species to lay their eggs.  Other plants that are pollinator magnets are Short-toothed Mountain Mint, Dense Blazing Star, Showy Goldenrod, and Wild Geranium.  Shooting Star requires 'buzz' pollination, a specialty service provided by Bumble Bees.  If the bees, butterflies, flies and other pollinators are successful, there will be fruits and seeds produced by Spicebush, Low-bush Blueberry, Showy Coneflower and Beebalm that birds will be happy to eat.  Birds will also benefit greatly from the caterpillars, which are an important part of most birds' diets.  

 

 

Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve (https://bhwp.org/ ) generously donated the plants for the garden through their pocket habitat program.  Betsy and Joe Falconi donated compost.  Teachers, Lambertville Goes Wild team members and friends, and parents all helped prepare the bed for planting.  The LPS community and Lambertville Goes Wild are grateful for the generosity of all who made the garden possible.

Valid from 10/16/2018 to 11/30/2018