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More than golf at Oak Hills Park

Volunteers planting seedlings in topsoil and existing conditions in the new meadow at Oak Hills Park’s nature center. (Audrey Cozzarin)

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Bees, birds, butterflies, and other wildlife will have a new haven at Oak Hills Park. On Friday and Saturday, May 21 and 22, a small group of volunteers planted the start of a large restorative meadow in the nature center area of the park. This is a project of the Oak Hills Park Nature Advisory Committee.

Planted were native plants: Lobelia, Salvia, Digitalis, Dogbane, Golden Alexander, and Clover Bush (all grown by the Norwalk Land Trust), along with seeds (Showy Northeast Native Wildflower and Grasses Mix from Ernst Seed Co.) planted throughout the meadow area both in organic topsoil with compost and in existing conditions (mostly turf grass aerated ahead of time).

Oak Hills Park Nature Advisory Committee (OHPNAC) member Andrea Malise plants Digitalis. (Audrey Cozzarin)

Meadows are all the rage right now, and this new meadow follows some of the new practices in establishing from scratch. Planting in both topsoil (ideal conditions) and in existing conditions (grass and “weeds”) will yield a mix of results, but native plants are strong and resilient and adapt well to our environment. That’s the point. Establishing a new meadow can take 3-4 years to flourish as the native plants get more of a foot-hold.

This new meadow will provide food and shelter for pollinators—Oak Hills Park’s nature center is on the Pollinator Pathway—helping the insects and birds who rely on natural habitat for their life cycles. If each property in our community had a garden dedicated to native plants, this important wildlife will have safe haven and food during migration, summer months, and all seasons.

As our new signs say, “Pardon the Weeds, We’re Feeding the Bees.” Join us and plant natives for our pollinators in your yard or garden. This is Beauty and Function working together for Mother Earth.  Come visit our nature center—Oak Hills Park is more than golf.

Audrey Cozzarin, Chair

Oak Hills Park Nature Advisory Committee

Oak Hills Park Nature Advisory Committee chair Audrey Cozzarin (left) and volunteer Angela Carey carefully plant a Lobelia in the new meadow. (Serafino Carri)

 

Serafino Carri waters a Golden Alexander plant while Oak Hills Park Nature Advisory Committee member Larry Schwartz is ready with a small shovel-full of organic topsoil. (Audrey Cozzarin)

Organic topsoil with compost spread in the meadow area by Jim Schell, grounds supervisor at Oak Hills Park. (Audrey Cozzarin)

 

It was a hot and humid morning, but we planted and seeded a new meadow! From left, volunteers Lisa Thomas and Angela Carey; Audrey Cozzarin; Serafino Carri; Larry Schwartz; and kneeling, OHPNAC member Elsa Obuchowski. (Sharon Taymore.)

 

2 comments

lisa shanahan May 24, 2021 at 7:29 am

Fantastic and important work! Thank you, Oak Hills Park Nature Advisory Committee, Norwalk Land Trust and Audrey!!!

Steve Mann May 24, 2021 at 1:04 pm

Thanks Audrey! It’s great to see that the community is being made aware that Oak Hills can be enjoyed by other than golfers. It’s a Norwalk treasure.

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