When politicians are facilitators in regenerating biodiversity
We think planting native is a luxury partially because we can take action without asking permission or needing legislation. Sometimes MAGIC happens when permission is sought and a public official, a volunteer conservation organization and a landscape architect get together - and that is just what happened in Hastings-on-Hudson, a village in Westchester County, NY. They are responsible for the conversion of several public locations in their Village to native gardens, including a berm that parallels the busy Saw Mill River Parkway.
I was fortunate to meet Hastings-on-Hudson (HOH) Mayor Niki Armacost via good friend Kathy Chow of Climate Smart Millerton-NY. Mayor Armacost considers herself a “facilitator” for the vision and work done by Hastings Pollinator Pathway group. I can never capture the enthusiasm, dedication and can-do nature of Mayor of HOH- Niki Armacost, Haven Colgate & Margie Lavender of Hastings Pollinator Pathway and HOH Conservation Commission; and Melissa Reavis of Hollander Design Landscape Architects. Each person is passionate about planting native and regenerating biodiversity.
According to Hastings Pollinator Pathway: “Our aim is to bring awareness to ecological issues through participation and conversations with neighbors and friends in our village We've noticed people are hungry to help restore our environment. We started by scouting neighborhoods and reaching out to homes in June 2020, and within a year we had around two hundred members on our mailing list.”
It is the highly collaborative and hands-on approach that makes HOH native plantings so effective. For example, Hastings Pollinator Pathway (HPP) as a “hands-on” group replaced a weed-infested area in a high pedestrian trafficked site with a 2500 sq. ft native garden (now on the HNP MAP!) with assistance from Hastings Beautification Committee and many volunteers from the community. Melissa Reavis (Hollander Design Landscape) designed -on a pro-bono basis- the 3-year plan; the Village paid for the trees through its tree budget and HPP paid for the plugs which were sold at cost. The Village manager ensured that the Village’s contracted landscaping company would water the garden twice a week.
As for that berm by the busy Saw Mill River Parkway – amazing! HPP worked with the Village and Melissa with the State government to re-seed the Berm with native plants during a highway redesign. In addition, Melissa designed a meadow and native trees for a rehab of an area where a truck careened into a wall on Village. These projects were independently underway and with the support of Mayor Armacost and her trustees, Hastings Pollinator Pathway was able to do their magical “tweaks”!
The following are links to the projects and organization. Be sure to check out the Adopt-a-Spot News as a terrific way to engage individuals in your communities.
We are so pleased that Village projects on this MAP are now on the HOMEGROWN NATIONAL PARK® MAP
Melissa Reavis is a kindred spirit with HNP and Hastings Pollinator Pathway, actively promoting the concept of the ‘new landscape”, a change from green lawns to luxurious landscapes of meadows and formal native planted gardens.https://hollanderdesign.com