Need a Reason to G.O. (Get Outside)?

Release Date: Apr 4, 2012  

Contact(s): C. J. Norvell, 918-567-2326 ext. 114


 OZARK, ARK. – Area residents will have one more good reason to G.O.! (Get Outside!) to the Boston Mountain Ranger District Office on April 12th.  A groundbreaking event scheduled for that day will spotlight the establishment of a new native plant “pollinator” garden at the Forest Service office located on Highway 23 south in Ozark.  The 2 p.m. ceremony will promote getting outside to help children and families be happier, healthier and smarter, tenets of the national “Get Outside” initiative.

While much of the garden prep work is complete, the final phase of native plantings will occur during the week of the groundbreaking event.  This is the first native plant garden in the Ozark area to be open to the public and will contain more than 35 Arkansas native plant, tree, flower and vine species, including many that attract pollinator species, such as butterflies, birds and bees. Pollinators are essential in moving pollen from flower to flower for the production of fruits and seeds.

“This garden is a unique opportunity for the Boston Mountain Ranger District office to reduce its carbon footprint and environmental impact on our own community, and to teach people how to do the same thing at home,” stated District Wildlife Biologist Rhea Whalen.  “Since native plant species are adapted to the local climate and soil conditions where they naturally occur, our landscaping will require less watering, mowing, weed eating or fertilizing.  This will reduce landscaping budgets and decrease use of water, chemicals and fossil fuels that would ordinarily be used to maintain it.”

According to Whalen, the garden will not only save money, but will also promote diversity and stewardship of Arkansas’ natural heritage, reduce air pollution, prevent soil erosion, provide food and shelter for wildlife species and improve the soil’s capacity to store water.  All of these factors reduce the overall contribution to global warming.

The Native Plant Pollinator Garden is the result of a partnership that includes the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests, Ozark Garden Club, Ozark Area Chamber of Commerce, Hutchens-Perry Enterprises, Brookhaven Nursery, Pine Ridge Gardens, the Native Plant Society, Holland Wildflower Farm, Arkansas Green Industry Association, the Children’s Nature Network and the National Gardening Association.

The garden is free for the public to view and for educational purposes.  Everyone is encouraged to stop by and take a look, but please don’t pick the flowers!  For more information on the groundbreaking event or the Boston Mountain Ranger District, please call (479) 667-2191.  To learn more about the G.O.! Program, logon to http://childrenandnature.ning.com/group/letsgo.