By: Nicole Newell, Sustainable Backyard Program Manager
The work at Suisun Wildlife Center was the most interesting and busiest installation yet! As we were learning, working, and getting to know each other, the raptors and a one-eyed coyote were watching us. Volunteers stopped by to get bottles for the baby squirrels and raccoons that are receiving in-home care and wounded baby possums, squirrels, raccoons and birds arrived as we installed the pollinator food forest. We saw first-hand the service that Suisun Wildlife Center provides to California native wildlife. Throughout the three days, city council members, board members, and community members interested in water-efficiency and wildlife visited us.
Andrew Torres, a student from the Airman Leadership School Globemaster class contacted me a few days prior to the installation and asked if we had a community service project available for the class to join. This healthy crew of young men and women studying to be sergeants delivered 15 yards of tree chips and dug 60 feet of swales in only two hours! Each year 35, 263 gallons of water will be diverted from the roof to the swales. Suisun City Vice Mayor, Lori Wilson, coordinated lunch with local eateries and McDonalds donated chicken salads (yes they were tasty!). At lunchtime, we spoke to the Globemaster class and learned about the important role that community service plays in becoming sergeants. The foundation of this garden was completed and the class learned how to harvest water in-ground and build soil by adding tree chips.
The next day, we did not have the help of the Globemaster class, but we did have a few solid participants that have been to our previous workshops ready to wrap up this project. Kevin brought his nifty drill that helped dig the holes and made planting in clay soil effortless. We planted over 30 different types of plants to attract pollinators. Rose from Morningsun Herb Farm recommended Newleaze Coral. This plant blooms from spring to fall and attracts many different types of bees including native bees. After we had our pizza lunch donated from Mountain Mikes, the Daisy Girl Scouts arrived to work on their honeybee award. The girls worked as a team to plant Russian Salvia; this plant attracts butterflies, hover flies and bees. Then they sprinkled laughter, joy and pollinator seeds all over the garden. Thank you to everyone that helped get this pollinator food forest installed at Suisun Wildlife Center. Vice Mayor Wilson supported the Suisun City Sustainable Backyard program from the beginning by introducing us to local organizations, launching our program at Denise Rushing’s speaker event and serving on the Advisory Board to help select both the private and public site in Suisun City.
This demonstration pollinator food forest at Suisun Wildlife Center is a public project funded by the Solano County Water Agency. The garden will serve as a community asset where people can learn simple techniques to design a resilient, water-wise landscape.