The RIWPS March 25 Annual meeting was a time for awards.
Annual Volunteer awards were given to Linda McDaniel and Pat Cahalan. Linda was recognised with the Volunteer of the Year Award for her work as co-chair of the 2016 Plant Sales Committee and her work in Seed Starters East. RIWPS is delighted that she is heading the 2017 Plant Sale Committee! Pat received the Lifetime Service Award for the contributions to WildFloraRI, Seed Starters West, Plant Sales and a variety of other tasks.
Congratulations and thank you to Linda and Pat for your dedication to RIWPS’ mission and for making the experience of other volunteers so wonderful. (See previous award winners)
Hilary A. Downes-Fortune, a teacher at the Compass school in Kingston was awarded the $1,000 to install a pollinator garden and learning landscape at the school. The funds will be used to purchase a variety of locally grown native plant species for this garden. The garden will be a part of the South County Pollinator Conservation Project, a collaborative effort of the Rhody Native Project (RI Natural History Survey), RI Wild Plant Society, New England Wildflower Society, and Ragged Orchid Farm in Wakefield. The goal of the SCPCP is to serve as a new Citizen Science effort to begin the documentation, monitoring, and research on Rhode Island’s plant/pollinator communities.
An easily- applied survey technique using a basic digital point-and-shoot camera will allow students to conduct periodic surveys by photographing insect visitors. Each photo becomes an instant record of the insect, the plant being visited, and the date. A database of all photos will document plant phenology (flowering period) and insect visitation that will be an invaluable tool in assessing the region’s pollinator fauna, as well as identifying the best plants to use in pollinator conservation efforts.
The pollinator garden will also include an Audio Bee Cabinet, based a design of Sarah Peebles, an artist/ecologist in Toronto, Canada. The Cabinet is an observable nesting sites for wild, solitary bees and wasps. Students can watch and listen to discover how bees vary in size, shape and color, and how their habitats and life cycles differ.