Vienna Girl Scout protecting pollinators

VIENNA — The younger population has really began tackling environmental issues, and the impact shows.

Ellie Mommessin, 17, a member of Girl Scout Troop 1063 in Vienna, decided to focus her Gold Project on helping the local pollinator population grow.

“You hear about the ‘save bees’ and that the pollinator population is decreasing, but you don’t really hear about all the easy ways you could help out,” she said.

Mommessin said she decided to plant a pollinator garden at McDonough Park after researching about the importance of pollinators and their declining population.

“I wanted to do my part to help,” she said.

Mommessin said while researching, she found that bats, who are also pollinators, can provide natural mosquito control, so she decided to include a bat house in her project as well.

“On average, some bats can eat up to 1,200 mosquitoes in an hour, which provides a natural mosquito control and eliminates pesticides, which are harmful to pollinators,” she said.

Mommessin planted the pollinator garden, which holds around 40 different plants, near the walking path at McDonough. She said pollinators such as bees, moths, butterflies, birds and bats pollinate over 75 percent of the world’s flowering plants.

“People ask why a pollinator garden; loss of habitat is believed to be the main contributor to the decline in pollinator numbers,” she said.

She is encouraging others to do the same.

“To help the declining population of pollinators, you can construct your own pollinator garden to provide food as well as a habitat for pollinators to live,” Mommessin said.

“As someone who runs at McDonough Park regularly I am excited to see this garden grow and hopefully have a positive impact on the pollinators population in the area,” Mommessin said.

The bat house is installed near the pond on Twin Lakes Road.

“I learned a lot about bats during the project,” she said.

One thing she learned was that the bat house needed to be a dark color an in full sun, because bats like to be warm.

“The bat house also had to be away from tree line due to predators,”Mommessin said.

For information on how to do either project in your own home, go to “cityofvienna.info,” click on Bat House or Pollinator Garden.

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