VOU Pollinator Garden & Environmental Initiatives
VOU Pollinator Garden & Environmental InitiativesThe Villages of Urbana is proud to sponsor the planting of a pollinator garden located at the woodchip path access point at Sugarloaf Parkway. As part of this ongoing effort, the VOU plans to plan additional native plugs in the area, and to augment current reforestation areas with additional trees.
NEW! Nature Backpack Program
Invasive Species Harm the Environment
Do Not Plant List and additional guidance
Nature Backpack Program
Inspired by her own discoveries in nature, second grader Leela G. raised hundreds of dollars to create Nature Backpacks. Filled with fun and educational items like binoculars, a camera, field guides, scavenger hunts, and other resources, these backpacks will allow families to easily explore their own yards, our neighborhoods and surrounding parks.
These backpacks are free for VOU residents to check out at the Villages of Urbana community center at 9023 Harris Street. Please click here for more information and to reserve the backpack. For a printable copy of the scavenger hunt page, please click here.
Backpacks are available for checkout from Tuesday through Thursday and Friday through Monday. Reserve the START date for the backpack on the calendar below. Please plan to pick up and drop off the backpack between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM weekdays. If you have trouble with those times, please contact the management office at 301-831-4810 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to drop it off or pick it up from your house.
Villages of Urbana Pollinator Garden, established May 2021
The pollinator garden is located on Sugarloaf Parkway, at the access point for the woodchip path, between Spicebush Way and Bush Creek Drive. This 3,500 square foot garden features more than 900 native plants and shrubs. It was designed by Ruppert Landscape as a demonstration garden for residents and visitors to learn how to plant for pollinators and for the benefit of the environment. There are close to 20 types of regionally native plants and shrubs here, which bloom at different times of the year to provide continuous food and shelter for pollinators like bees, butterflies, beetles, moths, flies, birds, bats and other creatures. All the plants are perennials, which means they will return each year after losing their leaves in the fall. A larger version of the map and plant descriptions is available here.
Below are the specific plants featured in the garden, as well as their bloom time and wildlife value. You can download a pdf of the pollinator garden guide and the plant list document here.
Native plants are an important part of our ecosystem. They have evolved with the local climate, soil and wildlife over millions of years. Many of the insects that we depend on to pollinate flowers and food crops are host specialists: they can only reproduce on a particular native plant. The Monarch butterfly's caterpillars can only eat milkweed leaves, for example, so if they hatch on any other plant, they will die. Native plants also have deep root systems that help filter water, prevent erosion, and sequester carbon dioxide and other pollutants.
Assassin Bug shedding molt
Green Team Urbana - a group of Urbana residents who are passionate about biodiversity and the health of our environment - organized 100 volunteers to plant the initial gallon-size flowers in the pollinator garden. Green Team Urbana volunteers weed and maintain the garden, as well.
Additional resources for garden designs, where to purchase native plants, how to maintain a garden, and more can also be found at the www.GreenTeamUrbana.com and also on Facebook at [https://www.facebook.com/groups/greenteamurbana].
If you are interested in helping with the garden and are a VOU resident, you can the join the Green Team Urbana group here. For information about other environmental projects in the area, please check out the Green Team Urbana website.
In 2020 and 2021, the non-profit Streamlink with community volunteers planted over 1,000 native trees and shrubs in three different areas of the Villages of Urbana. These emerging forests are cared for by volunteers. To become a part of a tree team, contact GreenTeamUrbana@gmail.com.
Invasive Species Harm the Environment
An "invasive species" is defined as a species that is
- Non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration; and,
- Whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.
Do Not Plant List
Just as native plants are beneficial to their local ecosystem, non-native plants can be detrimental. Click here to view a list of plants we do not allow to be planted in the VOU and to learn more about non-native, invasive plants.
Additional information about native plants and control of invasive species is available here.