Non for profit 'Blacks In Green' creates pollinator garden in the West Woodlawn area
A group of volunteers and staff from environmental and economic development non-profit Blacks In Green recently introduced a pollinator garden to the West Woodlawn area. This pollinator garden will provide a source of food and shelter for adult pollinators and their larvae. The group consisted of Naomi Davis, founder of B.I.G.; Cindy Wilder, an administrative assistant for Blacks In Green and several volunteers including Irish Colley and Porsha McCaskill.
“The big vision that Blacks In Green aims to accomplish is self-sustaining black communities everywhere,” said Patrice Patterson, an energy efficiency coach for Blacks In Green. “B.I.G is a leading edge teacher and serves as a bridge and catalyst among communities in the design and development of green careers, green wealth and sustainability, and energy efficient Black ‘green communities’.
Blacks In Green was able to gain funding assist through a project called ChangeX, a nonprofit from Ireland, that partnered with Pollinator Partnership to utilize it’s teaching resources. According to their website, Pollinator Partnership provides resources to support people who have the desire to protect pollinators to ensure healthy ecosystems and food security. Since the pollinators are responsible for moving pollen from flower to flower, most of the foods that are being consumed by humans like fruits, vegetables, and nuts are created by pollinators. Examples of pollinators are bees, butterflies and beetles. Pollinator Partnership’s mission is to create more awareness for the health of pollinators, how they are a necessity for food and the environment through conservation, education, and research.
The project was given a two-thousand dollar grant. The grant application required a multiple-step process before the decision could be finalized, including assembling a team, deciding where to create the pollinator-friendly habit, getting familiar with the pollinators and existing plants in the landscape, and start planting the new habit.
Davis was inspired to put this project in motion after noticing how human life has an effect on the quality of lives of many insect species. “What inspires me is the fact that we are ecologists,” Davis said. “We're environmentalists. We care about the health of the human species, and how it's going to be either advanced or hampered by how we live in our communities, and the lifestyle that we live with respect to clean energy, pollution, and waste, how we manage the resources of the planet, how we grow our food, how we transport ourselves, all of these things are impacting how well the human species can live on the planet.”
One of the helping hands who helped the pollinator garden come to life was Duane M. Jarrett, chief gardening officer for Blacks In Green. Jarrett’s role in the creation of the pollinator garden was as an adviser, consultant, and facilitator. These duties included the selection, purchase, arrangement of plants and planters, and the direction of installation by staff and volunteers. Jarrett is an exhibit designer and builder by trade; he has been gardening since 10 years of age and his study of plants and wildlife began even earlier. He said he wanted people to understand how important it is to take care of the environment to make a greater impact. (He said he wanted people to understand that the first step to making an impact on environmental wellbeing in taking care of the ecosystem.)
“The purpose of all of this work is first to honor our Creator, by whatever name you call Him. And to encourage our citizens and leaders to assist in the nurturing of a greener environment in this city,” Jarrett said. “Verified research has shown that green spaces contribute to the mental, physical, psychological and spiritual health of residents. In addition, my aim is to encourage the use of native plants in landscaping and to discourage the use of indiscriminate and toxic pesticides and herbicides that kill our pollinators and their food sources, as well as, sicken and poison us.”