Home • Gloucester County News New pollinator garden brings the community together

New pollinator garden brings the community together

The effort became an important initiative for Rotary Club

The effort became an important initiative for Rotary Club

The township community came together last month to create a pollinator garden at Washington Lake Park as part of a new Rotary Club initiative, Operation Pollination. 

“This was a chance to collaborate with some great organizations,” said Vicky Binetti, chair of the township Green Team and Environmental Commission. “When I took this to the Rotary Club,  they were very enthusiastic about getting involved, because they had heard about other projects that we did … 

“It wasn’t a hard sell.”

The idea came about in the spring of 2021, and with protection of the environment a newly introduced initiative for the Rotary, Binetti believed it would be the perfect way to get another important part of the community involved. 

“We’re so glad to contribute to the health of our local ecosystem by providing native plants that will offer pollen and nectar to pollinators,” said Rotary Club President Randee Davidson. 

The project started with finding the perfect place for the garden, which happens to be a quiet plot near the new dog park. But that plot was missing a crucial part of the puzzle – a water  source. This summer, a spigot and hose were added so planting could begin in the fall. 

“It is a nice spot, because there are no athletic fields,” Binetti noted. “But people did take time to walk that way to get to the dog park. Eventually we will get better irrigation.” 

All the native plants were purchased by the Rotary through a Rutgers’ agricultural organization  plant sale. About eight different species were purchased, all of them being native perennials and perfect for pollinators. 

Barbara Woodward, a township native and environmental enthusiast who had just completed her training to be an environmental steward, was interested in creating a pollinator garden in town and was quickly welcomed to the team to help create the perfect layout for the project. 

“She had just helped another organization create a pollinator garden at Tall Pines,” said Binetti. “We wanted to make sure we did everything right for the butterflies and the bees.”

When everything was ready, students from Bunker Hill Middle School came to till the soil and   mulch while volunteers from the township high school’s Interact Club placed all 72 plants on a 10-by-20 plot.

While the plot is mostly finished, the community has plans to not only expand, but create signage that will inform visitors about the native species, why the garden is important and the role of pollinators in the environment.  

Mayor Joann Gattinelli, an avid member of the Green Team, noted that the newly planted garden has already prompted interest from residents. 

“Because these plants are native to New Jersey fields, we expect that they will flourish in our local climate and provide lots of pollen and nectar for our butterflies and bees,” she said.


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