Planting events at nature preserve prep for springtime bloom


Several native garden planting events are happening this fall around the Bunker Interpretive Center as part of the renovations of the Ecosystem Preserve. Last Saturday, Sept. 22, was the first of six such scheduled events, all of which are open to the public. The planting sessions aim to reintroduce over 30,000 native plants to new garden beds as part of a revamp project funded by Thelma Venema, who also attended last weekend’s planting party.

Zachary Hartwig, a senior, enjoyed the experience of installing the plants. He was also surprised to see plenty of older volunteers.

“I sometimes forget that the nature preserve has a lot of behind-the-scenes support from people that we rarely get to meet. I am thankful, though, that when our paths do cross, it is always a pleasant encounter,” said Hartwig.

Another senior, Mimi Mutesa, also commented on the variety of people at the event.

“It was a beautiful day for an event like that because families were able to bring their children, and their children were able to participate in something beautiful,” said Mutesa.

Jen Howell, the land manager of the Ecosystem Preserve, was present to direct volunteers in following the planting plan designed by landscape architect Wes Landon.

“My favorite part of the day? …Watching a neat variety of folks—grandparents with enthusiastic grandchildren, mothers with adult children, Calvin students (including an especially cute pair that appeared to be on a date), native plant enthusiasts, and even a couple of defensive linemen from the GVSU football team!—come together for the purpose of restoring a little corner of creation,” said Howell.

Another planting session is scheduled for this Saturday, September 29, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. All are welcome to take part in on the ongoing efforts to make the preserve a beautiful place for spring to bloom.