It all started with a simple idea: gardens.

Alamance County needs more gardens, more flowers. But what kind?

How could one beautify this area but at the same time be purposeful? 

Pollinator gardens. We could make our spaces beautiful and save the small insects that are vital to agriculture and a third of the food we eat.

But where to start?

Engage Alamance opened its first Awesome Fund applications in April where the requirements were very simple: submit your idea in a regular text box, the idea and person the board picks receives $1,000 to create their awesome idea.

So I sent them my idea. And they liked it enough to gift me with $1,000, a support team, and their trust, to begin this crazy idea of setting up pollinator gardens around Alamance County.

About the Gardener

I desire to continually learn and have my views expanded.

This is one of the main reasons I chose my career path of journalism. 

I attended Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina where I spent much of my time working at a produce stand in Banner Elk called Mountain Rooster Produce, managing their website but also hauling watermelons, shucking corn, breaking beans, and of course, eating the freshest tomato sandwiches.

I formed relationships with farmers and people in the community, and it was nice to have this agriculture-based community as my passions were forming in that very teachable time in my life. It was truly one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.

I began working for Appalachian Voices, an environmental advocacy organization with an office in Boone, focusing on conservation and protection of land, air, and water across the central and southern Appalachian region. I wrote regularly for their bi-monthly publication, The Appalachian Voice, which reaches people across a 9-state region.

Mountain Rooster Produce, a stand tucked into the valley of Banner Elk, it was my favorite place in the summertime, and also just happened to be where I worked.

Though work was enjoyable, especially when I met the goats who produced my goat cheese, I did quite a bit of tedious calendar event writing and press releases.

During one of those monotonous days writing news releases, I found myself reading about butterflies and a pollinator highway forming in North Carolina. I wrote a short article on the importance of pollinators and how their habitats were disappearing, yet I still felt like no one stood up to make a difference, or even was aware there was a problem, and at that time I didn’t have the means to put my passions into action.

I graduated and now work in Hillsborough, North Carolina, as a staff writer at The News of Orange County, the local newspaper. I've once again found myself writing about pollinators, as Hillsborough just recently became a certified Bee City USA and the Garden Club is working with the Town to ensure that the plants, trees, and flowers they are planting around town are either pollinator plants or non-invasive to pollinator habitats.

I want to create this in Alamance County.

But I want to extend the project to beautify spaces around town that are frequented regularly and to also educate the community, especially schools, on the importance of pollinators.

Of course  I am ecstatic to get my hands back in the dirt, planting beautiful plants that I know will help not only the bees, butterflies, beetles and more, but us, my friends and my community, as pollinators are vital to our ecosystem and lives. 

Celebrating Arbor Day at Pathways Elementary School.