For weeks throughout spring, dozens of people — young and old — converged on a Kingsport, Tennessee, elementary school after classes with garden tools and donated their time for a common purpose.
They were determined to turn a nondescript field into something beautiful and priceless for biodiversity: a 2,100-square-foot pollinator garden.
By the end of May, the team declared success. Washington Elementary School is now home to a garden featuring plants like milkweed, bee balm, black-eyed Susan, spicebush, cone flowers and many others.
“A beautiful thing about this is that so many people came together and did something we can all be proud of,” Eastman engineer Neil Brown said. “We set out to do something that would be beautiful to look at, have a big impact and provide the benefit of education too.”
Why it’s important
This is the third school pollinator garden Brown has coordinated in partnership with Keep Kingsport Beautiful, a local affiliate of the Keep America Beautiful program. The effort’s origin ties to Eastman’s molecular recycling and a few big trees in its manufacturing plant.
Pollinators are so vital to human life that they get their own week (National Pollinator Week is June 19–25). Pollinators include a broad range of animal species, from insects like butterflies, moths and bees to bats — and even some birds. Pollinators need pollinator gardens and wild habitats for food and to reproduce. In turn, those species pollinate the countless plants that produce much of the food we eat and contribute to some of the medicines we use.