The site is at the northwest extremity of Page Field, within the buffer zone of the wetlands replication area known as Page Pond.
Paula Gilarde, the club’s immediate past president and driver of the project, said the native plants planned for the rectangular area are designed to provide habitat and food for native bees, as well as “butterflies and other creatures.”
The area, which now is neither cultivated nor mowed, is replete with invasive growth. “Our goal is to return the land to what would have been there originally,” she told the commission during its virtual meeting. “We have a list of plants that we will be working from,” provided by a biology professor whose research specialties include bumblebee ecology.
Commission members and staff were laudatory and enthusiastic.
“I can’t see a downside whatsoever,” declared Lori Eggert. Frank Richichi called this “a good demonstration project” for other areas in town. Stacey Katz added that it’s a model for homeowners as well. Deborah Edinger agreed, saying, “I hope this isn’t the only one.” Commission Chair Steven Hagan added, “Good work by the Rotary and a great project for the town.”
Jeffrey Summers, the conservation administrator, stated, “I think it’s a great idea. What’s there now does not have a whole lot of habitat value. I really appreciate the initiative to do it.” If the section ultimately is neglected, he added, the worst-case scenario would be “what it is now.”
Katz also commended the planners for including explanatory signage. Gilarde replied, “A big part is going to be an educational tool,” with “signage explaining what the plants are. We will have QR codes to redirect people to get more information and hopefully that will encourage people to grow their own.”
She noted that a sign also will announce that the pollinator garden is dedicated to the memory of longtime Rotarian Bob Mead.
Hagan reminded Gilarde that once construction begins, the club should check with Summers on whether there is a need to implement erosion controls, to help prevent sediment from migrating towards the pond.
“I hope there’s lots of milkweed. Monarchs need a lot of help,” Eggert remarked. Plants, including milkweed, will be “specific to this exact area. The whole ecosystem will be improved,” Gilarde said.
Hagan advised Gilarde, “I did an order for such plants this spring and they ran out – thank goodness you guys are doing this.”
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at [email protected], or 781-983-1763