Things are almost starting to feel like spring around here!
This week my coworker and I had an opportunity to help out with an outdoor education event. We set up a station for the kids to check out some aquatic invertebrates- doesn’t sound incredibly thrilling, but we found some really neat stuff for the kids to check out. It was really nice seeing them get excited with their finds. I hope finding all that life in seemingly lifeless murky water sparked a sense of curiosity for the natural world. Even as an adult it still excites me see and remember how intricate some of the tiny worlds all around us are. It felt so good to do some in-person educating with the kids!I
We finally were able to get the garden space cleared to be ready for planting. We had a volunteer group come out and they made quick work of what seemed like quite a looming task for just myself. I felt so grateful to have help clearing it up. The space had become very overgrown after being neglected when our site was flooded a few years ago. There were so many small trees coming up, and tons of large invasive shrubby plants taking over. Now that the space is cleared and prepped we just have to wait for our plants to be ready for pick up! We will be setting up another volunteer day in about a month when we get the plants, where we will finally be installing the plants I selected for us!
I have a loose design plan. I want the space to end up looking natural, but intentional. I am hoping by planting the same species in clumps together, but in no particular design will give us this effect. I am really excited to get it all set and watch as it grows and evolves over time! This is my first time going through this process and I find it incredibly satisfying. I am really grateful that they have trusted me here to take the project on!
Along with the garden design and plan, I have been generating some new interpretive panels that will be put up inside our visitor center. We plan on putting them near the windows that the garden will be visible from. I am really enjoying developing information on the importance of pollinator gardens, and I plan on providing some accessible information on tips for homeowners to plan and design their own gardens.
I have also been spending time with our Iowa junior duck stamp coordinator. (I really am getting to be involved in a little bit of everything here). This last weekend we were finally able to host an award ceremony for all the kids that entered and placed- she had almost 400 entries. So many of them really blew me away, I think they must have had such a difficult time selecting winners. It was incredibly heartwarming to see the kids, and really encouraging to hear them be passionate at such young ages. I hope they carry that through life !
A bit of a random assortment of what we have been up to out here at Desoto National Wildlife Refuge!
Picture caption: Me helping the youth design their own buttons at our Iowa Junior Duck Stamp award ceremony.
Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service
Location: DeSoto and Boyer Chute National Wildlife Refuges