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'Beautifying our city': Pollinator Posse keeps Boise's gardens buzzing

The Warm Springs Pollinator Garden is one of eight of its kind scattered across the City of Boise. The gardens are mostly maintained by a bevy of volunteers.

BOISE, Idaho — Once a week, there is a certain buzz about one of Boise's small public spaces. Despite the approaching holiday, the work doesn't stop for a group of volunteers who help keep all eight of Boise's Pollinator Gardens up and running. 

Their job is vital, because those gardens help keep pollinators around. Pollinators are needed for things like fruits and vegetables, but we are losing them at an alarming rate.

Loss of habitats, use of chemicals and change in climates have all added to the decline in pollinator populations in the United States.

At the Warm Springs Pollinator Garden, volunteers are cutting back flowering plants and cutting out invasive weeds. The hardworking crew calls themselves the Pollinator Posse. 

"We're protecting habitat for the very beneficial pollinators," Sherri Lechten said. "It is a lot of fun. You meet a lot of great people who put a lot of effort into maintaining this, beautifying our city."

The Warm Springs Pollinator Garden is one of eight scattered across the City of Trees, primarily preserved by a bevy of volunteers. 

"We really couldn't maintain our spaces or even plant them without our volunteers," Boise Parks and Recreation Community Volunteer Specialist, Kristin Gnojewski said.

Letchen - who is a Pollinator Posse volunteer - said the "essential" operation could not happen in the heat of the summer without Boiseans lending a helping hand.

According to Connie Christofferson, another volunteer at the Warm Springs Pollinator Garden during KTVB's visit, the Posse's working is kind of a calling. 

"I usually walk by here on the Greenbelt and it just looked like a good way to get involved with the Boise Parks and Rec community," Christofferson said.

When most people think about pollinators, they think of honey bees, Letchen said. In fact, bees are a very big part of pollination.

"A lot of people don't realize we have somewhere in the realm of 700 species of native bees in Idaho," Gnojewski said. "That's not pollinators, that's just species of bees."

Butterflies and other species are also assisting in the pollinating.

"A lot of beetles are pollinators, people don't realize," Gnojewski said. "There's a lot of different species of wasps that are pollinators and we also have a lot of hummingbirds that are out here. Pollinators are very diverse, it's not just bees."

Gnojewski said all of the City of Boise's Pollinator Gardens are weeded by hand, without herbicides to protect the health of the pollinators. It is a lot of work, but it is well worth it.

"I think these gardens bring a lot of joy to people and working with volunteers," Gnojewski said. "The people of this community going by on the Greenbelt are always saying thank you. It brings us so much joy."

Lechten added the work helps, "get your Vitamin D and it's digging therapy."

There is a way for you to be part of the Pollinator Posse, by visiting the City of Boise's website here.

Upcoming Pollinator Posse dates are included, where you can help maintain one of the city's eight Pollinator Gardens. 

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