Planting the Racine Public Library for pollinators to support local ecosystems

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) — Good things are growing at the Racine Public Library thanks to a partnership with the Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network.

“We support our local ecosystems for our bees, butterflies and birds,” says Julia Heiser, Marketing Assistant for Library Programs and Services.

Dozens of volunteers came to the library on Friday June 24 to start a pollinator patch. 700 native Taylor Creek Restoration Nurseries plants are now taking root on Library Drive near the outdoor book falls.

“This is definitely a community effort,” says Heiser. “It took about three to four hours. It was hot, and now we’ve just watered. Hopefully these little guys will start to grow.”

The library says it’s just one small way to help attract pollinators, but the Watershed Initiative says there are even more benefits to adding native plants.

“They have deeper root systems, which allows them to infiltrate more stormwater, improving water quality,” says Kristi Heuser, stormwater resource consultant with the Root-Pike Watershed Initiative. Network. “Any small piece of grass that you convert to native grassland will benefit the waterway.”

Heuser says if you want to create your own pollinator patch, be prepared for trial and error. She says to be patient and experiment with different varieties of plants — like balm bee, aster and black-eyed Susan — to see what takes hold in your garden. Library plants will likely take three to four years to mature.

Library users can also consult the seed catalog to start vegetable gardens. These initiatives are part of the library’s 125 projectse birthday, which comes in September.

“Racine is the root city,” says Heiser. “So everything is connected. We are rooted in our past, while looking to the future.”

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