Ways to celebrate Pollinator Week (June 17-23, 2024)!

  • Volunteer! Join MCTG members working at Wayside Park or on the square in Petersburg this week—or later this summer. We’ll be weeding, trimming, planting, watering, mulching, and eventually collecting seeds. If you’re interested in adopting a bed or a corner on the square, we can show you the ropes!
  • Scout blooming plants now for later seed collection (see a blog on this subject soon!)
  • Be a citizen scientist! Download the iNaturalist app and participate in the Illinois Monarch Project’s Bioblitz to document local insect activity.
  • Create pollinator habitat at home! While the heat makes planting a little challenging this week, with ample water during establishment, natives will tough it out! Consider planting native species from local growers like 3B Natives. Their plants can be ordered online or purchased at Seaney’s. The Mason State Nursery is another great option!

From Pollinator Partnership:

Pollinator Week 2024 is a celebration of the vital role that pollinators play in our ecosystems, economies, and agriculture. Under the inspiring theme “Vision 2040: Thriving ecosystems, economies, and agriculture,” this year’s event urges us to envision a future where pollinators not only survive but thrive. These essential creatures, including bees, butterflies, moths, bats, beetles, and hummingbirds, are the unsung heroes behind the food we enjoy and the beauty that surrounds us. As we reflect on the interconnectedness of our world, let’s unite in a collective effort to protect and preserve these crucial pollinators. By understanding the impact of our actions on their habitats and embracing sustainable practices, we can pave the way for a flourishing future. Join us in celebrating Pollinator Week 2024, and let’s cultivate a world where both nature and humanity thrive in harmony. Explore our resources, learn about pollinator-friendly initiatives, and be inspired to contribute to the vision of a greener and more sustainable tomorrow.



Life and Times of the Sangamon River

River valleys have a great many stories to tell. History is revealed in riverbanks all over the world. It is written in sediment, fossils, and artifacts. In some places, rivers expose ancient land and waterscapes created long before the river. Today, many rivers are refuges, tiny bits of what once was a far-reaching ecosystem. Life at the equator, colossal glaciers and the birth of rivers, megafauna, the arrival of people, earthquakes, a profound transformation of the landscape, but no dinosaurs, all these stories and more are told by the Sangamon River as it meanders its way across central Illinois. This video, History of the Sangamon River Valley by Michael Wiant, reveals some of the stories the Sangamon has to tell.

History of the Sangamon River Valley – HD 720p.mov from Treetop Productions on Vimeo.

Winter Seed Sowing

Winter seed sowing is a great way to grow most native plants! The seeds of many native species require cold, moist stratification to germinate. This occurs naturally when a seed falls on the soil and goes through an average Illinois winter.

These conditions can be mimicked in the refrigerator with a moist paper towel or a spoonful of sand, planting the seeds after meeting the required time for stratification of a particular species.

Winter sowing is an even simpler option—great for gardeners of all levels of experience. Planting in a milk jug or other recycled container gives seedlings a head start, as the containers create a mini-greenhouse to trap heat, speeding up germination and protecting seedlings during spring cold snaps, and lets nature work its magic! Continue reading “Winter Seed Sowing”

Pollinator Plants for Your Garden — Part 4

This post wraps up our 4 part blog series describing 12 easy-to-grow plants for attracting pollinators (butterflies, bees, etc) to your garden. View earlier blog posts here.

The final three plants described in the post are swamp milkweed, sneezeweed and aromatic aster. All 12 species discussed in the series are available for free (while supplies last!) a locations around Petersburg–see December 12th blog for details. Continue reading “Pollinator Plants for Your Garden — Part 4”

Pollinator Plants for Your Garden — Part 3

yellow coneflower
Black-eyed Susan is a prolific bloomer with showy yellow daisy-like flowers July through September.

This is Part 3 of a 4 part blog series describing 12 easy-to-grow plants for attracting pollinators (butterflies, bees, etc) to your garden. If you missed Parts 1 and 2, you can read Part 1 here;  read Part 2 here. The 12 species discussed in the series are all available for free (while supplies last!) a locations around Petersburg–see December 12th blog, Create Your Own Pollinator Habitat at Home, for details. Continue reading “Pollinator Plants for Your Garden — Part 3”

Signs of Spring

Dicentra cucullaria

During this time of social distancing and sheltering in place, those of us who love exploring the out of doors and nature are the lucky ones. Spring is happening and every day brings new changes. Migrating songbirds are starting to arrive from the south, many trees are starting to show signs of first blooms and buds, and native wildflower foliage is pushing through the leaf litter.

What are you noticing?

Phlox divaricata
Phlox divaricata, the wild blue phlox, woodland phlox, or wild sweet William.
Stylophorum diphyllum
Stylophorum diphyllum, commonly called the celandine-poppy or woods-poppy.
Mertensia virginica
Mertensia virginica, common name Virginia bluebells.