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FHSU students plant for pollinators

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In celebration of Earth Week on the green campus of Fort Hays State University, the University Activities Board, the Department of Biological Sciences and FHSU Botanical Research Group hosted a Pollinator Garden planting event.

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In celebration of Earth Week on the green campus of Fort Hays State University, the University Activities Board, the Department of Biological Sciences and FHSU Botanical Research Group hosted a Pollinator Garden planting event.

Outside Albertson Hall on Tuesday, students were welcome to grab gardening equipment and plant approximately 100 mature plants, 150 bulbs and several bags of wildflower seed.

“It’s going to be crowded,” Keri Caudle, biology graduate student, said with a laugh.

In the past two years, the pollinator garden has been a partnership between the biology departments and UAB. UAB donated money to purchase plants for the project.

UAB is the programming organization for the student body, and it sponsors a variety of entertainment programs and events to get students involved.

“I’m a conservation biology major,” said Carly McCracken, UAB president. “I wanted UAB to do something beneficial, not just for our campus, but in the long run. Bees and butterflies are dying out; butterflies are dying out due to the lack of habitat. … Bees are dying out for a variety of reasons, but they also don’t have enough food. So by planting flowers, we’re increasing that for both species.”

Pollinators include different types of bees and butterflies, but other insects such as moths, flies and beetles also are responsible for the important task.

“Last year, we had a lot of monarch butterflies in the area,” Caudle said. “The pollinator garden looked great, and we’re hoping for the same this year.”

According to Caudle, they planted a variety of plants and flowers in the garden that are popular with pollinators: sunflowers, daisies, zinnias, salvia, native plants and grasses, including dotted gayfeather and milkweed — which is essential to monarch butterfly habitats.

Taylor Contreras, a freshman, wanted to help since she is a member of the Bee Club on campus.

“I’m hoping this will be good for the bees,” Contreras said.

“I’ve never planted a flower in my entire life, so it’s not bad,” Jacob Schoenfeld, member of UAB, said while admiring his work.

The garden is located on the west side of Albertson Hall for those who want to observe the pollinators that soon will come to feed. A sign asks that there is no spraying of the garden or collecting of flowers.

“We wanted to make some type of statement as a campus that we’re doing something to help these pollinators on their way through, as well as providing them a yummy treat,” Caudle said.