The Student News Site of Bellevue East High School

The Tom Tom

The Student News Site of Bellevue East High School

The Tom Tom

The Student News Site of Bellevue East High School

The Tom Tom

Green Bellevue plants pollinator gardens


Digging Deep. By using a shovel, Junior Elayna Spangler helps with planting a pollinator garden located near the Bellevue Boulevard on August 30, 2023. “I’m shoveling around the border of the garden to help dislodge the roots of this invasive plant,” Spangler said. Photo by Charley Leon

Green Bellevue and various volunteers are growing pollinator gardens around Bellevue. These gardens are created to help increase the monarch butterfly population by providing the insects with more plants to pollinate.

Monarch butterflies are considered endangered and in need of certain plants to stay alive. Even though the insects may not seem important, they are vital to human food production and pollination of plants.

“We are concerned for the entire planet’s survival, so we take action to help and protect it. Monarch butterflies are in danger due to disappearing milkweed plants across the country,” Green Bellevue Advisory member Don Preister said.

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Migration is what monarchs do. They need plants to make their migration south. While the new pollinator gardens will help provide exactly what the insects need, the problem originates from humans because have reduced the plants that the butterflies need,

“It is kept mowed so that if flowering plants happen to live, they are scalped off. Nearly all the roadsides are mowed short so that butterflies and other insects will have no food or habitat to live in,” Green Bellevue member Nancy Scott said. 

To track the migration of the butterflies south, Green Bellevue  and volunteers catch and tag monarchs in local gardens so they can see the progress made in the migration to Mexico. People then are paid to travel down to Mexico and find the butterflies they tagged from Bellevue.

Go green. A garden across from Bellevue East is in the early stages of planting as of August 30, 2023. This garden is before volunteers started working. “We have multiple gardens in Bellevue, Omaha and lowa that we sponsor,” Green Bellevue Advisory Member, Don Preister said. Photo by Charley Leon

“We use a butterfly net to catch the monarchs, then have to record the number on the sticker, the date, where it was caught, the sex, and if it was reared in captivity or caught wild,” Scott said. “We place the sticker on the lower wing. It’s very lightweight and does not bother the butterfly.” 

Other organizations, like the Bellevue Native Plant Society, are also helping with growing more plants. Not only are monarch butterflies in danger, but all insects are affected by the lack of plants. 

“Every year the Bellevue Native Plant Society gives away free native seeds and native plants to our members and the public. We host and participate in earth and pollinator themed events all year,” Founder of Bellevue Native Plant Society, Stephanie Barelman said.

The importance of plants has caught the attention of teachers and students in Bellevue East. Many see the gardens being built and offer a helping hand. There is also a garden located right across Bellevue East that is in the process of being planted, but currently has no volunteers since it is still in the early stages.

“There’s an educational aspect of it; the people that are running it, really do a nice job of teaching people about the plants, and the different insects and animals that take advantage of them,” instructor Jody Eoff said.

East’s environmental club, Green Initiative, was also informed about the gardens and is looking for volunteers. Some students are helping with the process of these gardens along with adults.

“I did enjoy volunteering cause I got some really good information that could help me in the future,” junior Elayna Spangler said.

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Charley Leon, Co-editor in Chief
Hello, I’m Charley Leon and I am one of the Editors in Chief of the Tom Tom. I write and design pages in the newspaper.

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