The Climate Change Leadership Academy (2CLA) brings together aspiring community leaders from throughout the Upper Valley to support one another in taking meaningful local action to address climate change. A wonderful example of this leadership in action is the recent creation of a pollinator garden in Lebanon’s Colburn Park spearheaded by Barbara Slaiby (Class of 2021).
Through 2CLA, Barbara was introduced to Amanda Porter, a classmate who was interested in planting a pollinator garden in her hometown of Springfield, VT. The two met to talk about Amanda’s project and from there Barbara started her own research on pollinator gardens. “I thought people in the Upper Valley would be interested in contributing to the native plant movement if they knew more about it. I talked with my friend, Susan Johnson, about the possibility of creating a native garden in a public space in Lebanon.” After attending a class at the Dartmouth Osher Lifelong Learning Institute on native plants taught by Alicia Houk, as well as Hanover Garden Club-sponsored lecture by Doug Tallamy, and two lectures on native plant gardening from Gardener’s Supply, she was ready to get started.
Colburn Park in downtown Lebanon was an ideal location because people from throughout the Upper Valley visit there regularly. Lebanon Opera House events, the Farmer’s Market, the summer concert series, and nearby restaurants and businesses draw people from all over. Together, Barbara and Susan approached Paul Coats, the director of Lebanon Parks, Art, and Recreation. With his approval and permission from the Lebanon Heritage Commission, she set about pre-ordering plants from Bagley Pond Perennials in New Hampshire and Northeast Pollinators in Vermont.
The garden went into the ground this spring. With signs and a QR code to an informational website, the hope for the project is that it will encourage interest in planting native plants. Check out the website for a list of native plant nurseries! According to Sarah Brock, Program Director, Climate, Energy, Transportation, “2CLA is all about helping average residents make a difference in their own community, and inspiring others to do the same. The Colburn Park pollinator garden is a wonderful example of achieving BOTH of those goals! The garden is as much about creating critical habitat for pollinators as it is about public education and community engagement. Passersby will be inspired to plant their own pollinator gardens and find their own ways to address climate change at the local level, inspired by Barbara’s example.”
While Barbara selected the plants, wrote the website content, and painted the signs, the project has been a community effort in many ways. A big thanks goes out to Alicia Houk, who offered excellent information and contributed to the plant list. Susan Johnson, who has been the technical person behind the website and QR codes. Laurel Pollard for printing the codes using a 3-D printer and Nelson Carter for constructing the signs and bee hotel.