Saturday, June 1, 2013

Red Wolf Healthcare and Education Facility update: pollinator garden and tours!

Back in September, some of the staff of the Red Wolf Recovery Program teamed with the Red Wolf Coalition to enhance the space at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Red Wolf Healthcare and Education Facility in Columbia, North Carolina. Last fall was an exciting time as the wolf enclosures were completed and the bleachers were installed.  To create additional habitat for other species and to provide educational opportunities on local ecosystems more generally, our assistant coordinator, Becky, designed a native pollinator garden. 

Why are pollinators important?  Pollinators are nearly as significant as sunlight, soil and water to the reproductive success of over 75% of the world's flowering plants. They are crucial to the production of most fruits, nuts and berries on which people and wildlife depend.  

If you're interested in planting a pollinator garden, but aren't sure what plant species are native to your area, you can use these guides.

With a lot of fundraising through the Red Wolf Coalition, and some manual labor from the Red Wolf Recovery Program’s biologists, Chris and Ford, and John of the Division of Migratory Birds, we installed a space for the plants and installed rain barrels and soaker hoses to allow the garden to be self-maintaining.  We were lucky enough to have some help planting too—Rebecca Harrell’s 8th grade science classes at Columbia Middle School were great plant caretakers!  Together, we planted 85 plants, all native the southeast.

 Garden freshly mulched in October 2012.

Garden progress in May 2013.

Today, the garden is flourishing, including flowering tickseed, columbine, native sunflowers, blueberries, milkweeds, and many other species. While we did lose a handful of individual plants this winter, the majority of the plants are flowering and thriving.  Thank you to everyone who made this effort possible!

In other good news, beginning in June 2013, the Red Wolf Coalition will host a number of educational and recreational events at the Red Wolf Education and Healthcare Facility. These events are great for families or small groups interested in an introduction to red wolves, their lives and their conservation. 

Please visit the Red Wolf Coalition’s Calendar of Events site to learn more about the various events and the dates/times they are scheduled, and to reserve seats for your family or group. Please note that reservations are required for those wishing to attend an event. Finally, please be sure to check the Event Policies for important information about attendance at red wolf programs.

More photos will be posted on our Facebook page as plants bloom!

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