Bellevue Scouts plant native garden at Hitchcock Nature Center | Bellevue

The natural beauty of the Loess Hills is built one bee at a time.

Thanks to the hard work of some Girl Scouts, there’s now another pitstop available for those buzzing bees and other pollinators.

Six Scouts from Troop 45483 of Bellevue, Nebraska, spent their morning last Sunday, June 5, planting about 300 plants in a garden in front of the Loess Hills Lodge at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Honey Creek.

“The garden will serve as a demonstration site so that park visitors can get inspiration for planting their own native gardens at home,” said Kylie Gumpert, promotion and outreach coordinator for Pottawattamie Conservation. “We’re working on getting educational signage to feature there as well.”

The plant species in the native garden include sedges, columbine, asters and goldenrod. They were purchased through the troop’s fundraising efforts and a grant from the Loess Hills Alliance.

Parents joined the middle schoolers, along with Benjamin Vogt of Monarch Gardens, in planting the garden.

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Four of the girls are working on earning Silver Awards, one of the highest awards in Girl Scouting, which encourages middle-schoolers to address issues affecting their community and show leadership for lasting change.

“As pollinators decline across the globe, it’s vital to create and restore habitat areas where these creatures, which we rely on for one out of every three bites of food, can thrive,” Gumpert said in a news release. “Pottawattamie Conservation is proud to support these middle school-age students as they make a difference in their community.”

Visitors to the Hitchcock Nature Center, 27792 Ski Hill Loop in Honey Creek, can find the gardens and learn more about how they help pollinators. Park admission is $6 per vehicle. Find more information at www.pottconservation.com.