Faculty, students and staff at Hanover College, joined by Pollinator Action Group, planted almost 500 plants Tuesday. It was the first of six habitat plantings in visible places sponsored by the Pollinator Action Group with a grant from the Community Foundation of Madison and Jefferson County. Volunteers are needed for the remaining plantings. (Courier staff photo by Peggy Vlerebome)
Faculty, students and staff at Hanover College, joined by Pollinator Action Group, planted almost 500 plants Tuesday. It was the first of six habitat plantings in visible places sponsored by the Pollinator Action Group with a grant from the Community Foundation of Madison and Jefferson County. Volunteers are needed for the remaining plantings. (Courier staff photo by Peggy Vlerebome)
Volunteers are needed for the Pollinator Action Group’s five remaining habitat plantings.

There will be two plantings Saturday, May 11: Hanover United Methodist Church, 220 E. Lagrange Road (State Road 56) at 9 a.m. and the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, 3851 West State Road 256 at 11 a.m.

A pollinator habitat will be planted at the Madison Visitor’s Center at 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 14.

Two will be planted Saturday, June 1: Ivy Tech Community College at 9 a.m. and Johnson Lake city park on Cragmont Street at 11 a.m. The planting at Ivy Tech will continue Sunday, June 2 at 9 a.m.

The habitat at Hanover College was planted Tuesday.

Volunteers do not need to register. They should take work gloves and expect to get a little dirty.

The Pollinator Action Group, with a grant from the Community Foundation of Madison and Jefferson County, is sponsoring the habitats.

In case of rain on any of the planting dates, updates will be posted to the PAG’s Facebook page, or volunteers can call the Soil and Water Conservation District for more information at 812-265-7609.

To see the updates and learn more about planting pollinator habitats, “like” the Pollinator Action Group on Facebook at Pollinator Action Group.

Four of the habitats will be 50 feet by 15 feet. The habitats at Hanover College and Ivy Tech Community College will be larger as money was provided to buy more plants.

“If you learn best by ‘doing,’ then this is perfect for you,” Vicki Wehner, coordinator of the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District, said for the need for volunteers at the sites. The Pollinator Action Group is a committee of the district.

“Come on down and plant some native wildflowers,” she said. “You can help the community and learn how to create your own pollinator habitat.”

Wehner is leading the Jefferson County Pollinator Action Group. The group is made up of landowners, nature lovers, teachers, Master Gardeners and community organizations like Oak Heritage Conservancy.

Together, they are adding pollinator habitat in the county and educating the public about the importance of pollinators. The group sold more than 5,000 native plants to landowners who are establishing their own habitats.

“We need pollinators for the food we eat – one out of every three bites we take is here because a butterfly or bee helped that plant grow,” Wehner said. “But pollinators also just make our world beautiful. Their populations are really suffering, but we can help by creating habitats in our yards and on our farms.”

The six pollinator habitat locations were chosen because they are in visible places.

“Our idea was to put in demonstration habitats all over the community to create some ‘buzz,’ ” Wehner said.

“We want people to see just how beautiful a pollinator habitat can be, and how quickly they attract butterflies and other pollinators,” she said. “Hopefully, people will get excited by these plantings, and go home and establish their own habitats.

“But we can’t do it without volunteers,” Wehner said. “We need people to come out and help plant – and we think the volunteers will learn a lot and have some fun while they help.”

Volunteers might help in any step of the process, from planting “plugs” (one-year old starts of native wildflowers) to digging holes, spreading mulch, watering plants, or even helping install educational signs, she said.

“This project is a great fit for the Frieda Suppes Jones/John Price Jones Memorial Endowment Fund,” said Bill Barnes, president & CEO of the Community Foundation. “Established in 1993 by an anonymous donor, this endowment’s purpose is to fund projects and programs which protect, enhance, and improve the environment in Jefferson County.”

Details about these planting dates are on the group’s Facebook page, at www.facebook.com/PollinatorActionGroup