Dogwood Springs Pollinator Project

A local Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) grant recipient, Nathan Edwards, has worked diligently to turn ten acres of the Dogwood Springs Campground into healthy pollinator habitats. The ten acres are divided between six different area plots within the campground. With the help of Quail Forever, five of these plots have been planted with native wildflowers, while one is still being cleared of invasive species.

Planting six pollinator plots was not Nathan’s original plan. His first quest started with a grant application for a stormwater runoff retention pond. He was denied the grant funds, but his determination stayed. Edwards later applied for an EQIP grant. After people associated with the grant evaluated his property, he was assigned pollinator fields. However, as a want-to-be beekeeper, he did not mind. Bees, along with other pollinators, play a prominent role in producing not only human food but also animal food. The fields are also significant to campers as they enjoy picking wildflowers.

Nathan explained that invasive species were the reason for one field still being unplanted. The most predominant invasive, Autumn Olive, was estimated to take up over 80% of the one-acre plot. The area is believed to have been a hayfield in the 1980s that was allowed to go back to nature, which led to Autumn Olive taking over. With some work still to be done, Edwards described that once they can get the weeds under control, the field will be disced and chemically treated. Along with that, he still has plans to remove the large remaining trees in the area. Then, the field will be planted with wildflowers like the others.

Of the five planted plots, Nathan noted that not all of them have the same level of success, but from that, he has learned a great deal. For instance, mowing has both advantages and disadvantages to controlling weeds. Although a couple of fields are still battling invasive species and do not seem to be producing as they would like, Edwards has enjoyed the entire journey. Seeing birds and honey bees increase while enjoying the fields’ beautiful blooms has made everything worth it. With the help of Quail Forever and Bill Fielding, Nathan plans to continue cultivating and improving his plots.