Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
For Love of Nature: New conservation group creating a buzz
For Love of Nature

For Love of Nature: New conservation group creating a buzz

{{featured_button_text}}

While keeping a safe distance apart, students and gardeners started planting wildflowers this month in the field across from James River Day School.

The planting is just one of several initiatives by Blue Ridge Conservation, a partnership between the Lynchburg Garden Club and Hillside Garden Club, started in 2019 to make Central Virginia more pollinator-friendly.

The McKenna family, who owns the field on Boonsboro Road, agreed to the planting, and Rainfrost Nursery donated several hundred dollars worth of native perennials in pots. The garden clubs bought a thousand packs of seeds.

“We are working to prevent the field from being mowed this summer, which will require some education as we may get some complaints,” said Heidi James, a member of Blue Ridge Conservation.

“We hope we can educate the public about the need to provide habitat for pollinators.”

The group launched an effort to make Lynchburg a Bee City USA, and Lynchburg Parks and Recreation ushered it through city council last year. Lynchburg became the 89th Bee City USA in July, promising to reduce the use of chemicals, install native plants and provide education and outreach.

Blue Ridge Conservation also partnered with the city to launch a Roadside Biodiversity Initiative.

In the first phase, the group planted three, one-acre wildflower pollinator beds: one along Candlers Mountain Road and two at Grace Street in Greenview Park.

The group donated $6,600 to the city’s Lynchburg Expressway Appearance Fund (LEAF) to prepare beds and plant wildflower seeds. Last week, city workers replanted the established beds with more wildflower seeds.

For Phase Two, the group is seeking grant money and raising funds for another LEAF project in conjunction with Crowther Landscape Architecture. Several large beds with native perennials, shrubs and trees should provide continuous blooms all season at a spot on U.S. 501 North at the Graves Mill Road exit.

“We are taking inspiration from, and hoping to promote, the New Perennial Movement, which is sweeping the world as an ecological plan that creates and maintains a habitat for pollinators, provides for cleaner water and reduces water usage,” James said.

“We hope to promote this style of planting for all future landscape projects around our city.”

During the winter, the dormant plant material will be left intact to provide food and habitat for insects and other wildlife.

VDOT heard about these projects and was inspired to put together a grant program dedicating $50,000 to allow for 20 grants of $2,500 each for localities to plant pollinator beds on highways or VDOT rights-of-way.

Blue Ridge Conservation also is working with the Pioneer Pollinators Beekeeping Club at Heritage High School to plant more pollinator-friendly native plants.

The group’s Bee City Working Committee and parks and recreation brought the Disney nature film, “Wings of Life” to the Academy Center of the Arts in early March to educate 600 local sixth-graders about pollinators.

These impressive initiatives also should inspire folks to make their own yards more resilient.

To learn more or contribute, email brconservation@gmail.com.

Shannon Brennan is a Central Virginia Master Naturalist, a Lynchburg Tree Steward and a volunteer for the Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club and the James River Association. She can be reached at shannonw481@gmail.com.

Shannon Brennan is a Central Virginia Master Naturalist, a Lynchburg Tree Steward and a volunteer for the Natural Bridge Appalachian Trail Club and the James River Association. She can be reached at shannonw481@gmail.com.

Get local news delivered to your inbox!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News

News Alert