What started out as a small project to save some bees turned an entire community into eco-enthusiasts.
Kewanee Girl Scout Troop 4444 started researching for a small bee project, which turned into a small habitat interacting with local bee experts and hours at the local library. It ultimately changed their community.
The scouts started by presenting an idea to the Kewanee Preservation Society in February 2020 to put a small pollinator garden on its property. After getting approval, however, the scouts learned of a city ordinance banning the promotion of bees in town.
The next day the troop set to work to get the ordinance updated. Within weeks, the scouts made a presentation to the Kewanee City Council asking that it consider changing current ordinances regarding bees so the community could be more bee friendly. The council approved the change, but the COVID-19 shutdown happened later that week, putting their project in jeopardy.
“The girls needed to put in 50 hours each, but the restrictions kept them from meeting and completing the project,” said Jacqueline Komnick, the troop leader.
After some brainstorming, the idea of individual pollinator kits was formed to involve the entire community instead of just one project. Since the ordinance had been changed to update pollinator garden value, the fuse was lit on another spectacular project.
“They researched how to make bee hotels and pollinator kits of out of recycled materials," said Komnick. "We asked the community for about 5,000 toilet paper rolls. Well, we got about 7,000. We got 500 water bottles in about three days. The community was wonderful to us. They researched the appropriate wildflower mixes and even got sunflower heads donated for us to harvest seeds.”
Even the Orion school district has become involved with a pollinator garden. The only thing the girls have had to purchase is the pollinator wildflower mixes to supplement with the sunflower seeds. The girls even made pamphlets on how to use all the different materials, bee facts, and bee education.
Seven girls have been part of the project from start to finish, showing that a small group can make a huge difference in their community.
If you are interested in a bee hotel, pollinator kit or information on the importance of bees, you can contact Jacqueline at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local native plant sale this weekend: Friends of the Hauburg Center and Guardians of the Prairie and Forest are having their native plant sale on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hauberg Estates, 24th Street and 14th Avenue, Rock Island. Tables will be spaced throughout the lawn so you can select your own plants. Masks are required per Rock Island Park Board policy.
They will be offering over 50 kinds of native flowering plants, grasses, trees and shrubs. The sale will include 5 species of milkweed, native grasses and several other kinds of plants, which provide habitat and food for pollinators, birds and wildlife. Plants will be offered for all types of soil, moisture and sunlight requirements.
Also available will be limited number of iron garden sculptures created by the late Don Hale. He was a veteran who went on an Honor Flight before his death. It was such a moving experience for him he became a big supporter of the flights. His daughter is donating some of his remaining sculptures to be sold with 100% of the proceeds going to support the QC Honor Flights.
This sale is in partnership with Guardians of the Prairie and Forest, Friends of Hauberg and Mariposa Nursery. For a full list of available plants, check their Facebook page "Guardians of the Prairie and Forest."
World Outdoors columnist Jeremiah Haas can be reached at email@example.com