Thousands of children, parents and senior citizens visit Chet Hobert Park in Clarke County each year to swim, play tennis, hit baseballs and softballs, kick soccer balls or just enjoy some time in the great outdoors.
As of this spring, they are likely to be joined by butterflies, bumble bees and hummingbirds.
That’s because REC recently installed a pollinator garden next to a substation at the park. The garden provides not only an improved view from the soccer fields and a walking trail, but also a safe space for pollinators to do their critical work. About 80 percent of all crops we depend on for food require pollination to thrive.
“We should all do our part to ensure pollinators have habitats throughout Virginia by planting native perennials,” said Cindy Musick, Director of Vegetation Management Services.
Clarke County officials joined with REC leaders to use giant scissors to cut through a ceremonial blue ribbon to officially celebrate the opening of the pollinator garden on Tuesday.
About 85 students from nearby DG Cooley Elementary School also joined in the garden’s dedication. Some of the students even helped plant a thundercloud plum tree near the pollinator garden as part of the day’s events.
Special signage among the plants and flowers shares facts about pollinators tailored specifically to fourth-grade SOL tests.
Also as part of the celebration, an official from the Department of Forestry was on hand to
designate REC as a Tree Line USA utility for the 22nd straight year. The award is presented on behalf of the Arbor Day Foundation and recognizes the Cooperative’s commitment to best practices in protecting and enhancing forestry.