Thanks to a grant from the Garden Club of Virginia, and the hard work of a lot of other people, the Park is building a pollinator meadow on a 1.4 acre plot between the RV camping area and the Park cabins. This gentle hillside contains marginal soil, collected when the cabins were built, which is perfect for wildflowers.
By spring of 2019 the field will have been turned into a flowering wildflower habitat and feeding area for many species of pollinators. A pollinator is an animal that fertilizes plants by moving pollen from one flower to another. Insect pollinators include bees, wasps, ants, flies, mosquitoes, butterflies, moths, and beetles. Without pollinators many plants and foods would not exist. Pollinators are critical in the reproduction of many major food crops, including Virginia staples, apples and grapes. Other wildlife like rabbits, turkey, and deer can use the seeds and insects for food and can use the tall grasses for shelter. The meadow will also feature a bee habitat. Bees that help with pollination will have hives in the meadow that can be viewed by Park visitors. The hives will be protected from bears and other predators by electric fencing powered by a solar panel. There will be interpretive signage along grass trails and tables and benches that will allow opportunity for rest and study.
The meadow, originally proposed by Park manager Tony Widmer, became possible when the Garden Club of Warren County proposed that the Park apply for a grant from the Garden Club of Virginia, which has accumulated a fund dedicated to projects in Virginia State Parks. With help from the Friends of Shenandoah River State Park, the Beekeepers of the Northern Shenandoah, and Park staff a plan was developed and submitted. The field has been cleared of trees and bushes and, over the spring and summer, will be sprayed to remove vegetation that would inhibit wildflower growth. Seeding will be done this fall and flowers should be up in the spring of next year.