Pinole Valley High School Interns committed to a year long Pollinator Garden project this year: planning, planting, and maintaining the garden in hopes of creating a long term overwintering habitat for Monarch Butterflies and other pollinators. Early on in the school year, Earth Team and Friends of Pinole Creek Watershed were awarded a grant through the Xerces Society for 78 native plants to create a pollinator garden in Pinole. With the helps of Earth Team interns, Friends of Pinole Creek Watershed, East Bay Municipal Utility District, the Resource Conservation District, and many volunteers, we were able to plant all 78 plants in early November!
Once all the plants were in the ground, Earth Team Pinole interns returned to the garden monthly to check in on the health of the plants. We quickly discovered that the plants were being eaten by deer so we acted fast to put wire cages over the plants to protect them from grazers. After intense weather and multiple atmospheric rivers, the plants were well watered during the winter and we saw signs of new growth! Once Spring came around, interns would water, weed, and mulch the plants to give them the best possible growing conditions to thrive long term.
After a year of intense hands on experience maintaining the native pollinator garden, interns decided to create a how-to guide so that anyone could start and care for their very own native garden. Each intern created a page in the “zine”, which was a step-by-step guide with information on where to find native plants in your community, where and when best to plant you garden, and how to care for the garden once it is planted. Check out the Native Garden Zine below so that you can plant your very own!
Interns made this step-by-step guide into a physical little booklet and handed them out to community members at public events such as Pinole Earth Day and the Shoreline Festival which proved to be a huge success.
Going into the 2023-2024 school year, the next batch of PVHS Earth Team interns will continue to maintain the Pollinator Garden, and have even been awarded another Xerces grant to plant even more pollinator plants! Many interns have reflected on this project and mentioned how fulfilling it is to see a project start to finish, and see first hand the growth and fruition of caring for a garden. Earth Team Pinole is excited to see how successful this garden will be in the future and to watch it grow!