The Forest Service and Shawnee RC&D have cooperatively established a pollinator garden at the Hidden Springs Forest Service Administrative site in Vienna, IL. This project is part of a cost-share agreement also involving Shawnee Audubon Society, Shawnee Group of the Sierra Club, Southern Illinois Audubon Society, Southern Illinois University Restoration Club, Vienna High School, and Anna-Jo Garden Club.
The goal is to establish native plats in the landscape design and create pollinator gardens for environmental education purposes on approximately five acres. The project will also plant native tree species at three picnic sites and one campground in the Shawnee National Forest. All native species will be identified by the common name and species along with interpretive signs.
Native plant species have been purchased or transplanted from plant rescues. A plant rescue involves digging up plants from sites in the Shawnee National Forest that are going to be developed and relocating the plants to the pollinator gardens.
Mulch made from local hardwood tree species is being used in the pollinator garden to perpetuate the native ecosystem.
The landscaping design and pollinator gardens at the administrative site will become environmental education areas for partners, educators, tours, organizations, and the general public to explain the benefits of native plant species and their influence on the insects, birds, mammals, and general aesthetic and intrinsic values. In addition, the trees will provide shade for visitors while blending into the surrounding environment. The trees will be attractive to visitors, pollinators, and other animals.
The above objectives are consistent with Forest Plan’s direction for enhancing the native populations of wildlife and plants.