RHINELANDER - You need to really get outside into nature to truly appreciate it. That's what Oneida County hopes you experience walking through its new pollinator garden behind the courthouse, which is close to completion.
Workers from Hanson's Garden Village laid out the key part to getting you into that garden along Baird Avenue on Tuesday. The gravel walkway allows water to drain into the soil, preventing runoff into the street.
A $1,500 Wisconsin Public Service Foundation grant paid for almost all of the walkway, which will lead through the garden to a picnic table.
"Walking along the sidewalk is one thing, however to actually experience, to be close to the plants to see the bumblebees and butterflies cruising around [is even better]," Oneida County Land and Water Pollinator Coordinator Baerbel Ehrig said.
Crews expected to finish that portion of the walkway Tuesday or Wednesday.
The garden started to take shape last October, when students from Lakeland Union High School
helped rip up sod to make way for planting. The county used a $5,000 grant from the Bayer Corporation to work on the garden.
Meanwhile, the flowers and plants will go into the garden next week. The county conservation office hopes native plants and flowers will encourage monarch butterflies and bumblebees to grow and spread across the area.
Ehrig says a 14-percent decline in monarch population across the U.S. last year means they need to work quickly.
"To create life, to sustain life, any kind of flowerbeds really make a difference, anywhere," Ehrig said. "Even if it's just a flower pot on the balcony."
The county needs volunteers to help plant flowers on June 27 starting at 9 a.m. Ehrig expects the garden will be finished after just one day of work.