If you were on Court Square in downtown Greenfield early on Tuesday, July 12, you would have noticed some heavy equipment working in front of City Hall. Department of Public Works personnel, led by Assistant Field Superintendent Mike Duclos, were beginning the process of replacing the two non-native shrubs on either side of doorway with native species that demonstrate Greenfield's commitment to improving native habitat in the city. Two burning bushes were removed and members of Greening Greenfield's Pollinator Group planted two sweet pepperbushes (Clethra Alnifolia), chosen in collaboration with Mayor Roxann Wedegartner.
Greening Greenfield's Pollinator Group aims to address the biodiversity crisis by planting shrubs, ferns, and flowering plants--to increase native habitat for pollinators and birds and to complement the two beautiful dogwood trees that grace the entryway to City Hall.
“We’ve been wanting to improve the landscaping of City Hall for some time,” says Mayor Wedegartner, “so when Greening Greenfield approached us with a proposal to do just that, we were thrilled!”
“We got inspired to approach the mayor when we realized that the two shrubs framing the doorway to City hall were invasive, non-native burning bushes,” said Mary Westervelt, member of Greening Greenfield’s Pollinator Group. “Non-native plants do not provide food that native insects and birds need, and invasive species escape to wild areas and supplant the species that should be there.”
“We were planning on planting a cover crop this summer to improve the soil,” adds Dorothea Sotiros, who is also a member of Greening Greenfield’s pollinator group, “but we have had to change our plans because it is so dry. We are now considering bringing in new soil in the fall and planting at that time, when it will be cooler, and hopefully wetter.
Greening Greenfield has also been looking at how they can add beauty and pollinator habitat at Greenfield’s John Zon Community Center. “While the Center has a beautiful pollinator garden, and lots of shrubs, we wanted to add more native foliage and add a third layer – trees!” said Nancy Hazard, who is also working on this project. “We have learned that trees are critically important to sustain caterpillars, which are the major source of food for baby birds, and part of the life cycle of butterflies and moths.”
Greening Greenfield invites community members to join them in building ‘pollinator corridors’ in both public and private spaces in Greenfield, and learn how we can make Greenfield more beautiful while building biodiversity. Greening Greenfield also hopes to link with neighboring communities who are also involved in this work. For more information or to get involved, go to their website GreeningGreenfieldMA.org and click on the butterfly, or click on the contact us button. People can also call 413-774-5667 and leave a message about their interest in getting involved.