After months of planning and hard work, Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust (DNRT) is pleased to open Greer’s Garden, a micro-orchard and pollinator garden, to the public.
The garden, named in honor of Dr. J. Greer McBratney and located at the land trust’s Chase Road headquarters, is a living example of what a healthy backyard ecosystem can look like. The garden features native plants that provide food for wildlife and pollinators throughout all seasons.
DNRT’s TerraCorps Service Member Bruce Traban oversaw the creation of this orchard and garden as one of his capacity building projects, a major goal of the TerraCorps service program.
Traban worked closely with UMass Dartmouth professor and founder of the Beecology Project, Robert Gegear, to carefully choose plants well suited for the Helfand Farm location. Plants selected are all native to New England and provide food and nectar for declining bee species, including short, medium, and long-tongued bees.
In addition to working with Gegear at Helfand Farm, DNRT continues to partner with UMass Dartmouth, to study and identify declining pollinators. Several DNRT properties are being monitored and planted with native species. Traban also worked with Susie Humphrey, a local landscaper and DNRT volunteer, who assisted with the design, layout, and planting of the garden.
Traban stated that the creation of Greer’s Garden was “a rewarding experience” and he “looks forward to coming back, watching everything grow, and helping out in the garden” after his TerraCorps service term is complete.
Greer’s Garden also features a 500 foot handicapped accessible trail that meanders through the native flora. Although a relatively short trail, it marks the beginning of DNRT’s long road towards making its outdoor spaces more accessible to all.
DNRT will be hosting another TerraCorps Service Member in late 2021-2022, with one of their capacity building projects to assess all 40 miles of trails across 19 Reserves for accessibility.
DNRT Land Manager Linda Vanderveer reflects on the project, “Since moving our offices to Helfand Farm six years ago, I’ve had this idea. After many years of dreaming of being able to have a wildlife orchard and garden, Bruce has helped us realize this vision. He’s done a great job. We couldn’t have done it without him and we couldn’t be happier with the results.”
Other garden highlights are an antique potato digger, a bench created by Paige Durant for her Girl Scout Gold Award, a beautiful bird bath donated by DNRT volunteer Mary Dewar, and a “tree cookie” table handcrafted by Richard Tabors with a slice of an oak tree that was cut at Parson’s Reserve.
The garden can be visited at 318 Chase Road, Dartmouth, MA. To learn more about DNRT visit www.dnrt.org.
To learn more about TerraCorps, visit https://terracorps.org
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