Rotarians Dig In!
Natalie Chavez, Eagle-Garden City Rotary and member of the Wetland Peace Preserve steering committee
Wetlands may seem like boggy, brushy areas that tear at our jackets and cake our shoes in mud. But they are vital to their functional ecosystems.
For example, did you know that plant roots and microorganisms in wetlands filter impurities from surface water as it seeps into groundwater aquifers? And because wetlands are biological “supermarkets” for wildlife, many birds “shop” in these areas during seasonal migrations or stay for a bit to breed and raise their young.
These are just some of the reasons that Treasure Valley Rotarians are excited about the Wetland Peace Preserve coming soon to the area between the Boise River and Willow Lane Athletic Complex off State Street. Next spring, peace poles, benches and other elements will be installed, but in the meantime, 40 volunteers braved the possibility of rain and put their shovels to good use.
Saturday, Oct. 23, found this diverse group of Rotary members and their families — as well as Interact students from the Idaho Fine Arts Academy in Eagle — digging holes, planting and mulching seedlings and seeds, and cleaning up the area. The serviceberry, black hawthorn, chokecherry, thinleaf alder, red osier dogwood, golden currant, antelope bitterbrush and oakleaf sumac seedlings, when grown, will provide structure and habitat to the preserve. Besides the seedlings, volunteers also planted milkweed, which is crucial for monarch butterflies. They lay their eggs on this plant since it’s the only one that the larvae can eat.
Although several people helped with the coordination, the morning of service would not have been possible without leadership from Kristin Gnojewski, Boise Department of Parks and Recreation, and Laurie Zuckerman, Boise Downtown and WPP steering committee organizer.
Thanks to all who participated in the planting! You can see these people hard at work in an online album, courtesy of Todd Fischer, Boise Downtown.
We look forward to the preserve coming alive with new growth next spring. But there’s still work to be done this winter. If you’re interested in volunteer opportunities at the Wetland Peace Preserve this January through March, check out these dates.