By: John Hazlett, Marion County SWCD District Manager
On September 27th, local corporation Cummins partnered with Reconnecting to Our Waterways (ROW) and Indy Parks Land Stewardship for a day of native habitat establishment at Spades and Brookside Parks as part of Indy Do Day.  I really enjoyed working with Cummins volunteers, Land Stewardship and ROW staff, as well as Bloomington-based contractor Eco Logic. Together we planted over 900 native plugs in Spades Park near the park shelter and playground areas.  The weather was perfect and several yards of leaf compost mulch were utilized to amend the soils for planting a variety of plugs and grasses along the south bank of Pogue’s Run.
                                 “Bee motel” installed for pollinators surrounded by newly planted native plugs.
Several of the species we planted can be found on the Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society’s landscaping list and Land Stewardship staff demonstrated proper planting techniques for the volunteers.  We discussed the importance of native plants for enhancing water quality, reducing erosion and providing pollinator habitat.  We also installed a “Bee Motel” for future pollinators and even found a state endangered Kirtland’s Snake!  I have worked extensively in the Pogue’s Run corridor over the last five years and it really is a great gem, especially with the continued work of Citizens Energy Group to reduce combined sewer overflows (CSOs) through the DigIndy Project.  I’m already looking forward to the Feast of Lanterns next year as this newly installed landscape matures.
The District looks forward to continuing our work with various public, private and non-profit partners to get more conservation on the ground.