Pollinator Meadow Habitat Coming Your Way!
The Bloomingdale Park District recently started the conversion of turf grass to pollinator meadow habitat at Westlake Park. The work is part of a $9,500 grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation that covers 50% of the cost.
"One goal of the Foundation’s efforts is to convert mowed turf areas to areas that are more diverse biologically and therefore more attractive to native pollinator species," said Bloomingdale Park District Executive Director Joe Potts. "Westlake Park is one of our most visited parks. Visitors of all ages to Westlake Park will enjoy a more diverse variety of birds, bees, and butterflies thanks to the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation."
Two acres of mowed turf will be converted to native plantings. The grant funds also support interpretive signs, explaining the benefits of native plants.
The areas to be converted have already been spray painted by the Park District's ecological restoration contractor, Pizzo and Associates. Next week, the areas will be sprayed with herbicide followed by tilling and seeding this fall/winter. The native seed mix was chosen to attract pollinators and in coordination with the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. The spaces to be converted were chosen to bring park users closer to the bird and insect species attracted by these native plants.
The Bloomingdale Park District is also working with the DuPage Monarch Project on the conversion. The DuPage Monarch Project is a group of local organizations working together to provide education about monarchs and increase the amount of suitable monarch habitat throughout DuPage County. They work with many park districts, villages, and cities throughout DuPage County to encourage development of monarch habitat.
For additional information on the importance of native plants, visit https://www.audubon.org/content/why-native-plants-matter.