In the past few years, there has been a significant decline in the number of honeybees worldwide. This year, a group of local residents has come together to do what they can to fix that problem.
In April, the group, including Jerry Shue and Rhonda Gotway Clyde, met at Rotary Park and planted the first “Bee Inspired Garden.”. The group concentrated on the use of plants that were beneficial to both native and non-native pollinators.
Since that first meeting, the group’s efforts have become more organized, which has allowed them to expand.
According to Roslynn Brain, a professor at Utah State University-Moab, the project has turned into a cooperative agreement between several local organizations including the city of Moab, Community Rebuilds, USU, and MoaBees Beekeepers, in addition to others.
Jeremy Lynch, a sustainability intern for USU, had worked with Community Rebuilds in the past. He was helping the nonprofit plan a water-wise garden for its intern housing campus when he heard about the Bee Inspired Garden at Rotary Park.
“Our ideas coincided with Jerry’s ideas,” he said.
The group has now finished several bee gardens, and group members have plans for several more. Instead of concentrating on just pollinator health, Brain said each of the gardens concentrates on three main principles: enhancing the health of local pollinators, water conservation and supporting local food systems.
“We hope that as people interact with the gardens that they’ll be inspired to do their own,” she said.
On Sept. 25, the group showed up to clean up and work on the original garden at Rotary Park. While the group has had several members who show up consistently, Brain said that they’ve had a wide range of people show up to help with their different projects.
“The diversity of the participants is key,” she said. “It’s growing and becoming more diverse.”
The group has already installed gardens at the Community Rebuilds Intern Campus as well as the park, and has developed plans for additional gardens at the USU campus, the Aarchway Inn and Moab Charter School, among other locations.
Brain said that the funding for each location is different, stating that most of the organizations pay for their own supplies. However, Brain said they will be raising money for the garden at Moab Charter School.
“It’s extremely important to have the kids interacting with the gardens,” she said.
Lynch said that the group’s main goal is for the gardens to inspire others.
“We’d like to have some basic models that can serve as a model for individuals who are interested in doing this on their own,” he said. “Eventually, we’d like them to be able to contact us for help.”
The group’s next project is slated for Friday, Oct. 24 and Sunday, Oct. 26, where participants will hold a hands-on workshop on building rain gardens.
More information about the projects is available online at http://ow.ly/BMHcM.