Riverwood Pollinator Garden
The Riverwood Pollinator Garden in Columbia County was designed by UGA Extension agents to include a 4,500-square-foot location in Riverwood Plantation. Riverwood Plantation, a large community consisting of 3,000 acres and 1,500 homes, highlights nature, family and a strong sense of community. With the goal of educating the community on the importance of pollinators, beneficial insects, and proper plant selection, the location of the garden was key to the success. The agent started with a hand-sketched plan and the garden began to take shape as Master Gardener Extension Volunteers added donated plants from local businesses and supplies procured from grant funding from Monarch Watch, Augusta Area Master Gardeners, Plant America, and Georgia Association of Conservation Districts. The transformation of the area piqued the interest of the community and drew in community volunteers and the Greenbrier school systems administration, students and teachers. In 2019, the garden was host to over 35 families who participated in the Great Pollinator Count, and in 2020 hosted 20 families, ensuring the social distancing protocols were met. The garden received the designation of certified Monarch Watch Waystation for both 2019 and 2020. To continue the community outreach, a Master Gardener team leader created a Facebook page to ensure the community and the schools were kept up-to-date on educational opportunities related to the pollinator garden. The garden provided five educational programs in 2019 where 56 attendees enjoyed presentations on types of pollinators, life cycles of pollinators, larvae and butterfly identification, native plants to attract pollinators, and building native nesting boxes. Due to COVID-19 restrictions in 2020, the garden has only provided three educational opportunities reaching 21 attendees. The garden has become a hands-on outdoor classroom designed to provide the opportunity for both adults and youth to develop a better understanding of our pollinators and their importance to the world.