Gardens Installed at St. Mary’s Animal Adoption and Resource Center

| Our Work

The St. Mary’s Animal Adoption and Resource Center pollinator gardens were recently renovated to help restore and preserve our natural resources. The gardens are located directly in front of the shelter, where community members gather to meet animals available for adoption. The project is a partnership between the shelter, Wild Ones Chesapeake Bay, Friends of St. Clements Bay, and St. Mary’s Garden Club, with volunteer labor support from the students in the Natural Resources Management Class at Dr. James A. Forrest Career and Technology Center.

Beginning in November 2023 with planning and design meetings, the partners collaborated to design two pollinator gardens that included native plants, herbs, and other pollinator plants to attract pollinators. The gardens were financially supported by grants from the Chesapeake Bay Trust, St. Mary’s Garden Club, and Maryland Federation of Garden Clubs. Approximately 450 square feet of existing beds were renovated/restored. Within the coming year, two interpretive signs will be installed; one will explain the role of native plants in absorbing and filtering storm water, the other will explain how native plant support insects and birds. 

Wild Ones Chesapeake Bay contributed to all phases of the project:

  • Garden design
  • Maintenance plan
  • Volunteer labor to  weed and sheet mulch the beds during two work days in February and March
  • Volunteer labor to plant native plants during two work days in April and May
  • Donation of a variety of native plants recovered from a fall native plant rescue at the St. Mary’s County Extension Office

In the words of one of the shelter volunteers following our last work day on May 2:

“Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, we gathered once more at the St. Mary’s County Animal Adoption & Resource Center to embark on the last leg of our planting adventure. Joined again by students from Mrs. Burch’s Natural Resource Management class, volunteers and representatives from Wild Ones Chesapeake Bay, the St. Mary’s County Garden Club, and Friends of St. Clements Bay – we were able to finally complete our planting journey!

“It was amazing to see everyone working together to transform the space from simple mulch beds into a future haven for birds, butterflies, and bees. These lovely pollinators will no doubt put on a lovely display for the cats, dogs, and visitors to the AARC.

“We’re feeling grateful and hopeful! Now we can enjoy a moment of peace — Reflecting as the plants grow and bloom. It’s incredible to think about the positive impact this garden will have for years to come.

“Thank you to everyone for your hard work and dedication!” ~ SC

Check out our previous blog posts for previous updates and photos of the project.