NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 10, 2016) – Park Ranger Dina Henninger, an environmental protection specialist in the Operations Division at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District’s Cheatham Lake in Ashland City, Tenn., is the employee of the month for September 2016.
Henninger is being recognized for organizing a successful National Public Lands Day event Oct. 1 at Cheatham Lake where 60 busy-bee volunteers established new pollinator gardens outside the resource manager’s office.
“This unique project and Dina’s outreach to the community has reignited local organizations to ask how they can help with similar outdoor activities and her initiative encouraged other staff members to look for more avenues to get local citizens involved at the Cheatham project,” said Lt. Col. Stephen Murphy, Nashville District commander.
To prepare for the pollinator gardens, Boy Scout Troops 545 and 458, Ashland City Parks and Recreation Department, and local volunteers cleaned out two garden beds then put down new mulch and planted bee-and butterfly-friendly plants designed by master gardeners Nancy Coop and Leslie Davenport.
A busy bee herself leading volunteers, Henninger noted that more than 100 crop species provide 90 percent of the world’s food. Of these, more than 70 crops are pollinated by bees, which is why she said they focused on gardening methods that would help local bee populations.
She said some of the pollinators attracted to the pollinator gardens at Cheatham Lake include bumblebees, Mason bees, moths, bats, flies, beetles, hummingbirds, wasps and even mosquitoes.
“They take pollen from one plant to another, thereby making plant reproduction possible. Pollination isn’t necessary to make flowers grow and bloom, but it is necessary for many plants to grow fruit,” she said.
Larry Nash, Cheatham Lake resource manager, said Henninger joined the staff about six months ago and soon after began preparations for the project.
“Dina came to us from Pennsylvania with a lot of new interesting ideas. She is highly motivated and a real asset to the Cheatham staff. Her desire to succeed and protect the environment led to the creation of our first pollinator garden and I'm sure there will be more,” Nash said.
A busy bee herself, Henninger said she enjoys encouraging people in the local community to volunteer, visiting schools to educate kids about the environment and water safety, partnering to help preserve public lands, and providing the best service so visitors enjoy recreating at the project.
“I love working with people, talking about gardening and learning some tips from them,” she said. “Everyone has been welcoming and the master gardeners are very open to the idea of working with them.”
Being recognized is an honor, but it’s important to say the project wouldn’t have been as successful without the contributions from the Cheatham team and the local community, Henninger added.
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