By Babs Rodriguez
Photos by Diane Barber
These Scouts understand the power of flowers
Fort Worth Girl Scouts Maddie Barber and Eliana Hernandez felt a flutter of excitement when they landed on just the right plan for their Silver Award project: a pollinator garden.
The award is given to Scouts who successfully create something with long-term benefits to their community.
The idea of Barber and Hernandez, members of Troop 2557, took flight when they decided to ensure that more butterflies and bees make a stop in Cowtown. “Pollinator gardens were lacking in our community, and I wanted to change that,” Hernandez says.
Planting native species to attract beneficial insects — such as the monarchs whose migrating numbers have declined — would not only draw winged creatures desirable for their propagation talents but also grow the interest of people who stop by the 65-by-40-foot plot to admire its beauty.
Facts about pollinators offered on signage is a key part of the project’s success. “I want it to inspire other people to create a pollinator garden of their own,” Barber says.
To launch their effort, Barber and Hernandez researched plants at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden and the Fort Worth Zoo. The 14-year-olds contacted the city’s Adopt-a-Park program to finesse the details and happily accepted a plot offered up alongside the Trinity Trails in Pecan Valley Park.
With the help of family and donations from friends and the community, the tough task of building the habitat began. A tarp was used to eliminate the grass, followed by light tilling of the soil. A garage sale raised funds for seeds and starters of more than 15 species of native plants.
Finally, they registered the garden as a monarch way station, with a plan to participate in Monarch Watch, a national volunteer network that studies and tracks the butterflies.
Today, the garden is filled with blooms attracting pollinators, and laminated butterfly identification guides and signs provide information to passersby. Because the pandemic has increased traffic on the trails, more and more human visitors are stopping by to see what the buzz is all about.
Find the pollinator garden in Pecan Valley Park, 6400 Pecan Valley Drive, Fort Worth.