Kelly McCann – Mississippi National River and Recreation Area

Last week, I was able to attend the Pollinator Summit at the University of Minnesota Arboretum. It was a day for land managers and environmental organizations to learn about building pollinator friendly spaces in the Twin Cities. 

I was able to see Sarah Bergmann speak, who started the Pollinator Pathway in Seattle. The Regional Director the Midwest Region of USFWS also spoke about dedication to helping pollinators in the region. It is especially important because most of the Monarch butterflies come to the Corn Belt on their multi-generation migration. It is critical habitat for them and many native bees.

I was asked to go to this summit because I am starting a Native Plant Nursery at the park. I had the idea but wasn’t sure how to make it economically feasible, until my boss told me that she also had the same dream! Together, we have gathered 5 schools so far that will be partners in the Nursery Program. It is a partnership with the Mississippi River Fund and schools in the metro area to grow native plants for our habitat restoration program. It will give us the capacity to grow plants that don’t germinate well from seed, allow us to move the money we now spend on seed to other restoration issues, and most importantly give students a hands-on opportunity to volunteer with the park and get great career experience.

I’m super psyched to leave this as my legacy at the park! I can’t wait to see the kids get a chance to see these plants go from seeds to thriving native plants in a restoration site that they helped to clear, plant, and grow!!