Racine Public Library planting for pollinators to support local ecosystems

NOW: Racine Public Library planting 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 are supporting our local ecosystems for our bees and our butterflies and birds," Julia Heiser, the library program and services marketing assistant, says.

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

"This is definitely a community effort," Heiser says. "It took about three to four hours. It was hot, and now we've just been watering. We're hoping those little guys start growing."

The library says this is 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 so they infiltrate more storm water -- ultimately improving water quality," Kristi Heuser, a storm water resource consultant with the Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network, says. "Any little bit of turf that you convert to a native prairie is going to benefit the waterway."

Heuser says if you want to create your own pollinator patch, prepare for trial and error. She says stay patient and test different varieties of plants -- like bee balm, aster and Black-eyed Susan -- to see what takes hold in your garden. The plants at the library will likely take three to four years to mature.

Library patrons can also visit the seed catalog to get home gardens started. These initiatives are part of the library's 125th anniversary, which is coming up in September.

"Racine is the Root City," Heiser says. "So it all ties together. We're rooted in our past, while looking toward the future."

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