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    May 24, 2023


    Sustainability Notes from the Sustainability and Natural Resources Committee
    Written by Kerry Beheler 
    The growing season is here! Flower blooms burst with color and shades of green cover the landscape as warmth and longer daylight surrounds us. Does this burgeoning life encourage you to create beauty and habitat for native pollinators? What better way to welcome the growing season in our community than by participating in hands-on education and planting projects!
    The Mount Horeb Sustainability and Natural Resources Committee analyzed results of the public surveys that citizens filled out at the April 4 elections. Perhaps you completed one of these voluntary surveys! We found that people were very interested in how to provide native pollinator habitat and permaculture gardening.  
    Rather than indoor lectures, the Sustainability and Natural Resources Committee is partnering with local experts and volunteers to offer free hands-on public events to increase understanding of permaculture gardening, native plantings, and other activities that improve our natural landscape. 
    The Friends of Stewart Park and the Sustainability and Natural Resources Committee will host weekly Work and Learn events with local experts in plantings, birding, and natural resources. Mount Horeb folks can learn how habitat restoration work is rebuilding a healthy ecosystem within Stewart Park, and how the Dane County Parks and Natural Areas contribute to improving the land and water throughout Dane County.  
    The Friends of Stewart Park will host these Work and Learn events on Tuesdays and Wednesdays through the month of June, beginning June 6 and 7, from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. Tuesday work will stretch throughout the Park and may include landscape work with power tools. Tuesday crews will meet at the end of Blueview Drive. Wednesday work will be in one of several pollinator gardens within the Park. Wednesday crews will begin by meeting at the Park shelter. 
    The Friends of Stewart Park also hosts a third Sunday work day, which will be on June 18. Interested volunteers will meet at the Park shelter at 1:00 pm. Please contact Friends of Stewart Park President Mary McDonough-Sutter at mcsutter@mhtc.net or find Friends of Stewart Park on Facebook for more details. 
    In addition to the Stewart Park events, free tours of a local Mount Horeb permaculture-influenced edible landscape will be offered by Rachel Belida, owner of Daily Harvest Designs https://www.dailyharvestdesigns.com/. Tours of 8-10 people will learn about the unique blend of function and beauty that are permaculture gardens. Topics will include simple and effective stormwater management systems, edible and medicinal plants, creative garden designs, how to create gathering spaces and play areas, chickens, and more! Tours will be on Tuesday, June 13 at 6pm; Thursday, June 15 at 6:00pm; and Saturday, June 24 at 10am. Please register on the Daily Harvest Designs website for a specific tour date and time.  https://www.dailyharvestdesigns.com/experiences.  
    Native plant pollinator gardens create healthy, colorful, and visually appealing areas. 
    Creating and maintaining these essential areas can be done by ourselves, our schools, faith-based organizations, our Village government, and citizen and business property owners. If you or your organization would like to host such community educational events, please contact the Mount Horeb Sustainability and Natural Resources Committee or the Village Board. 
    Free evening and weekend community Work and Learn events will be offered at Stewart Park as citizen interests and opportunities emerge throughout the summer. Free community Work and Learn native pollinator planting events and tours will be held by the Xerces Society and other organizations at local schools, educational farms, and other community areas in August. Stay tuned for announcements about these events later in the summer!  
    Mount Horeb can join with other local, state, and national communities and organizations who are concerned about, and take actions, to help our pollinators and create healthy lawns and garden spaces. The Mount Horeb Village Board will be considering a municipal ordinance that allows residents to grow and maintain native plant pollinator gardens within the next few months. This ordinance will promote natural landscaping and the use of native plants, while emphasizing the need to limit uncontrolled plant growth. It would give clear definitions of what constitutes planned natural landscapes, and would not allow plants on the State of Wisconsin noxious plant lists to be grown. If you are interested in sharing your views, please contact the Mount Horeb Sustainability and Natural Resources Committee or the Village Board. Happy Growing Season!  

    Photo: Monarch caterpillar feeding on native butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa), front yard photo. 
    Kerry Beheler, Author