Green San Miguel
By April Gaydos
On Saturday, July 11, approximately 150 people—students from Audubon de Mexico’s Niños y Naturaleza (NyN) program, along with their parents, teachers, and community volunteers—took part in the Festival de Niños y Naturaleza at Parque Benito Juárez. The festival was the grand finale of Audubon’s NyN program for the 2014/2015 school years. It was a jam-packed, fun-filled day of nature discovery, including nature walks, arts and crafts, and creating a special garden for hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.
An important component of the Audubon Niños y Naturaleza program is providing students with hands-on opportunities to create or improve wildlife habitat, participate as citizen scientists for research, or in other meaningful ways serve as friends to nature. These experiences enhance their appreciation and understanding of the connections between people, wildlife, and the environment and empower them to build their skills and make a difference in the world.
In helping to create the pollinator garden, students and volunteers were taking part in Audubon’s Nature in the City program, which promotes habitat restoration and enhancement in the urban area of San Miguel. Project Pollinator focuses on promoting habitat and food sources especially suited for our pollinators and building awareness and understanding of our pollinator species.
In cooperation with the Departamento de Medio Ambiente y Ecología de San Miguel, Parque Juárez was selected as the site of our first Project Pollinator public garden. Led by garden expert Luc Monzies of Bodega Orgánica, community volunteers helped students plant over 250 beneficial plants donated by Franke’s Vivero, including several species of salvia, lavender, and lantana. Bodega Orgánica donated artichoke plants as well as Mexican milkweed for monarch butterflies.
Like magical fairies, in just a little over three hours, participants transformed the garden area with color, fragrance, and nectar-rich flowers. Students learned planting techniques and about the various types of plants and the wildlife species attracted to each plant. Best of all, the students will carry with them the memory of what it feels like to make a contribution to nature and their community.
Signage for the garden is underway so that it becomes an educational garden as well as a site for our pollinators to feed and for people to enjoy. Our hope is that plants for pollinators and other wildlife will become a part of every garden and courtyard in San Miguel.
We invite you to visit the garden and let us know what you think. You will find it in the east end of the park between the two fountains, fairly close to the palapa structure (treasure hunt!). Our plan is to complete the garden in August. If you would like to help with the planting of the second phase, please contact us at email@example.com.