U.S. Fish and Wildlife Builds Nature Preserve in East End to Restore and Grow Pollinators

Industry: Construction

A recent study of the status of pollinators in North America found that populations of honey bees, some wild pollinators, and monarch butterflies are declining

Houston, TX (PRUnderground) January 5th, 2015

When Harrisburg was founded in the mid-19th century by the Allen brothers, the Buffalo Bayou in what is now Houston, Texas, was teeming with native plants and wildlife. Early settlers found the rich soil and growing conditions ideal to grow their fruits and vegetables. What they didn’t know was that the native birds and pollinating insects was the key to having a harvest. Nearly two centuries later the U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFW) in cooperation with the Greater East End Management District (GEEMD) is reversing time by creating the Lockwood Nature Garden Preserve.

Lockwood_East_End_Volunteers_4.JPGA recent study of the status of pollinators in North America by the National Academy of Sciences found that populations of honey bees, some wild pollinators, and monarch butterflies are declining.  Declines in wild pollinators may be a result of habitat loss, degradation, and pesticides. This ecological imbalance, prompted the USFW to work with the GEEMD in selecting a site for a “Nature Garden” in the East End.

East End residents and tourists will be able to view and enjoy monarch butterflies stopping to feed on Milkweed plants in their migration journey to and from Mexico. The micro preserve is expected to be a food depot providing nectar, berries, fruit, and seeds. Visitors can expect to see all kinds of pollinating insects and birds including moths, bats, ruby-throated and black-chinned hummingbirds, Monarch and queen butterflies, bees, frogs and lizards, bluebirds, cardinals, vireos, and cedar waxwings, and chickadees.

The Lockwood Nature Garden Preserve was built by a $25,000 grant from the USFW that will create two other like parks in Houston. Jennifer Sanchez, Project Leader, Texas Mid-coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex, USFW, was present on November 12, 2014; the day planting and landscaping was done. Ms. Sanchez coordinated all the entities and moving parts working on this project.  Volunteer partners for this unique site were Greenbelt and Furr High School Green Institute. Della Barbato coordinator of Green Schools supervised faculty and 32 students with the unloading and distribution of mulch and plants. The students were given a vocational lesson on all the natural shrubs and plants of this ecosystem. Furr High School is located on the North East side of Houston and it has a high concentration of Hispanic students. It was selected due to being a magnet school for environmental sciences and because of their efforts to promote environmental awareness and sustainability projects like this one.

Lockwood__East_End_Volunteers_3.JPGDiane Schenke, President of the Greater East End Management District is excited about this new attraction to the East Side. She commented, “This park for us is the icing on the cake in conjunction with all the other beatification and redevelopment projects the District is doing. Not only is the park aesthetic but it’s also educational for our East End families and nature lovers.” The GEEMD is seizing every opportunity to revitalize the East Side of Houston with a view to aesthetics, ecology, and community redevelopment.  Major beautification developments have taken place over the last five years in this heavily populated Hispanic area thanks to support and input from businesses, residents and major funding from government grants and charitable foundations.

The location of the park is on the corner of Harrisburg street and Lockwood near a Metro light rail stop. Tourists, nature lovers, and nature photography enthusiasts will be able to take the light rail and enjoy this stop along the many coming attractions. The park can also be easily accessed by one of the many bicycle trails that now traverse the East End.

About Greater East End Management District

The Greater East End Management District was founded in 1999. Its mission is to enhance the image of the District, to attract more businesses and to increase economic activity in the area. The District covers 16 square miles and borders Clinton Drive to the north, Loop 610 to the east, Telephone Road and Interstate 45 to the south and the Houston Belt and Terminal Railroad to Highway 59 to the west. Visit www.greatereastend.com to learn more.

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