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Pollinator park will be installed to help restore bees and monarchs

On June 3, a pollinator park will be planted in close proximity to the Brookside boat landing, just south of the Albert Lea Community Dog Park, according to a press release.

What started out as an idea and passion for pollinators by Carol Hegel Lang, a local gardener and freelance writer, is becoming a reality.

The dream and passion to help save pollinators came about as a result of Lang noting the loss of pollinators in her own gardens, and reading various articles stating that nearly 90 percent of the milkweed in roadside ditches had disappeared over the past 10 years — resulting in a 90 percent loss of monarch butterflies. Not only were monarchs being lost at a rapid rate, but the collapse of the bee population was just as devastating.

With the philosophy of even one person being able to make a difference creating a domino effect when multiplied by many, Lang decided it was time to take action to help save pollinators.

In January 2016 she formed the group Save the Monarchs of Freeborn County and started talking to local officials about making a pollinator park.

The grant was made possible by both the Pheasants Forever national group and local South Central Pheasants Forever No. 455 to provide quality foraging and nesting habitats, as well as opportunities for youth to get outside and gain an appreciation for wildlife and conservation.

The grant was funded by Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, DuPont Pioneer and Pheasants Forever, who created the Minnesota Pollinator Partnership. The grant is also sponsored by Cabela’s Outdoor Fund and Bayer Bee Care.

The project is being planted with the help of the Twin Lakes

4-H Club, members of Save the Monarchs of Freeborn County and others interested in saving pollinators. In all, about 1 1/4 acres will be planted in native species of plants for pollinators.

The objective of the Minnesota Pollinator Partnership is to increase awareness about decreasing pollinator populations, educate the general public on the importance of habitats for pollinators and to establish quality pollinator habitats across the state.

Those who are interested in showing their support for the project are invited to visit the pollinator park at 9 a.m. June 3 at Brookside Park. To find the pollinator park, follow the walking trail past the dog park.