ASHLAND CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 4, 2016) – A swarm of busy bee volunteers created pollinator gardens at Cheatham Lake and cleaned up the Bicentennial Trail Oct. 1, 2016 during a National Public Lands Day event.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District employees at the lake and Cheatham County Master Gardeners coordinated the activities with support of Boy Scout Troops 545 and 458, Ashland City Parks and Recreation Department and local volunteers.
Volunteers cleaned out two garden beds directly in front of the Cheatham Lake Resource Manager’s Office. They put down new mulch, and then planted bee-and-butterfly-friendly plants designed by master gardeners Nancy Coop and Leslie Davenport. The master gardeners discussed with volunteers the importance of pollinator gardens, why particular plans are used, and how to properly garden.
“One of the best parts of this event is watching all of the kids and volunteers come out on a Saturday to pull weeds,” said Cheatham County Master Gardeners President Chris Lockert. “It was also great watching kids appreciate and study nature and all of its creatures.”
Due to the population decline of bees, the Corps of Engineers and other agencies have pushed toward reestablishing pollinators in the United States.
“There are about 100 crop species that provide 90 percent of the world’s food. Of these, over 70 crops are pollinated by bees,” said Park Ranger Dina Henninger, lead coordinator for this year’s Cheatham Lake NPLD event. “That is why it is so important that we focus on gardening methods that will help keep the bee population going.”
The Ashland City Parks and Recreation Department also worked with a group of Boy Scouts and other volunteers at the Bicentennial Trail adjacent to the Lock A Campground. They took on the task of cleaning out brush and garbage that washes up periodically along the trail. Although it is sometimes a difficult task to keep clean, the trail provides eight miles of easy-to-moderate hiking to thousands of visitors each year.
When asked what they enjoyed the most about the day, several Boys Scouts agreed they enjoyed learning about plants, pollinator species, and working with the different types of gardening equipment. The Boy Scouts also spent the weekend camping at Cheatham Lake, and enjoyed the opportunity to ride bikes and experience the outdoors.
“This is my first time camping,” said Pierre Pili, a foreign exchange student from France. “I’ve enjoyed being outside, working on the gardens, and hanging out with the other Scouts while exploring outdoor activities.”
The national theme for this year’s event is “Celebrate Something We All Share: Our Public Lands.” It is the largest volunteer hands-on restoration activity of its kind where people do clean up, repair, construction and refurbishment in public parks, forests, rivers, lakes, wetlands, and cultural and historic sites.
Visit http://www.publiclandsday.org/ for more information about National Public Lands Day. For more information on USACE recreation opportunities visit http://www.CorpsLakes.us and http://www.recreation.gov.
The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps. The public can also follow Cheatham Lake on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/cheathamlake.