Oct. 21, 2010

Local school children participate in National Public Lands Day grant project at Fort Pickett

Staff Reports

BLACKSTONE, Va. — Student volunteers from the Nottoway Intermediate School Talented and Gifted Program helped plant native shrubs, warm season grasses and wildflowers on a half-acre plot in the Twin Lakes recreation area Oct.16 at Fort Pickett. The planting was funded through a National Public Lands Day grant administered by the U.S. Department of Defense. NPLD is a program of the National Environmental Education Foundation. This year more than 170,000 Americans across the nation participated in the annual event.

 

Student volunteers from the Nottoway Intermediate School Talented and Gifted Program help plant native shrubs, warm season grasses and wildflowers on a half-acre plot in the Twin Lakes recreation area Oct.16 at Fort Pickett. (Photo courtesy of Fort Pickett Environmental Office)

The NPLD grant awarded to Lt. Col. Gary Williamson, Fort Pickett environmental manager, in the amount of $6,450 was one of 27 grants awarded nationwide, with a maximum award of $6,500. The theme of the Fort Pickett NPLD grant is “Pollinator Gardens & the Importance of Pollinator Gardens in our Environment.”
           
“The NPLD grant planting is a pilot project to observe which pollinators inhabit this area, what they use, and to further explore reducing the total acreage mowed under maintenance and restoration of lands impacted from previous development and use,” said Ken Oristaglio, Fort Pickett natural resources program manager, who served as manager of the grant project. “We decided to construct a pollinator garden using three species of shrubs native to Virginia- Winterberry, Virginia Sweet Spire and Spicebush. Adjacent to the planting we seeded the area with wildflowers and warm season grasses that are native to Virginia to create natural meadows as an enhancement for pollinators.”
           
A major component of the federal grant is education. Prior to Saturday’s planting project, Oristaglio gave a presentation to the sixth grade student volunteers at Nottoway Intermediate School.
           
Plant materials for the project were purchased from Watkins Nursery in Chesterfield. Supplies were purchased from Clay’s Garden Center in Blackstone. Professionals and volunteers who assisted with the grant project include Williamson, the Fort Pickett environmental program manager; Capt. James Shaver, Fort Pickett environmental officer, Fort Pickett; Brandon Martin, Fort Pickett ITAM coordinator; Susan Smead, Fort Pickett cultural resources managert; Marcia Martin, a teacher at Nottoway Intermediate; Francis Gilmore of Gilmore Consulting, LLC; Terry Abston from the Nottoway County Extension Office; Katy Overby from Watkins Nursery; and Billy and Darlene Nash of Clay’s Garden Center.

National Public Lands Day began as a pilot program in 1996 to provide Americans with the opportunity to help improve public lands. The National Environmental Education Foundation serves as coordinator for NPLD in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service, Department of Defense, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the USDA Forest Service and the Environmental Protection Agency. Partnerships with federal land sites often include local and state land managers, as well as private companies and civic and conservation volunteer organizations. The national sponsor of NPLD is Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc.

For more information contact:
Ken Oristaglio
Natural Resources Program Manager
VA Army National Guard, Fort Pickett
 (434) 298-6416
kenneth.l.oristaglio@us.army.mil

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