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Community Planting Day Update

Written by Jeff Veglahn
    Monday, 01 June 2020
Community Planting Day Update

Community Planting Day has been held in the Menomonee Valley since 2008. It’s inaugural planting day was organized by Menomonee Valley Partners to help plant and establish native plant communities within Menomonee Valley Community Park. Which at the time was a newly constructed 6-acre rain garden that was designed to retain stormwater from adjacent businesses and help reduce the volume of stormwater entering Menomonee River.

Since 2013, Urban Ecology Center has been hosting the annual event, guided by me, Jeff Veglahn, Land Steward for the Menomonee Valley Branch. Since then, Community Planting Day has been held in Three Bridges Park and Menomonee Valley Community Park. Every year planting of native plants has been the focus of the event along with a native plant sale.

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Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, this will be the first year that Community Planting Day will not be held in the Menomonee Valley since 2008. However, that doesn’t mean the spirit of the event can’t continue! The spirit of Community Planting Day is introducing native plants into green spaces within the city to increase biodiversity and provide wildlife with something they know and love!

So, what does this mean for you this year? Think about planting some native plants in your green space at home! It doesn’t matter if you have a small, city-sized lot or acres of land, you can still incorporate native plants into your garden. Here is a great blog post to learn more about “Naturescaping”!

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Another way you can continue the spirit of Community Planting Day is to remove non-native plants from your green space. There are many non-native plants that are very common in people’s yards. These plants outcompete native plants, which results in fewer plants that wildlife are familiar with. Some of these plants are garlic mustard, creeping charlie, buckthorn, and also dame’s rocket. By removing these plants, you will provide space for other native plants to come in and establish themselves.

And whether you have a backyard or not, you can always participate in the spirit of learning and camaraderie that is what makes Community Planting Day so special. We encourage you to visit our “UEC in My Backyard” resource to find lots of fun activities for the whole family that you can do right in your own neighborhood! There are virtual botany walks, self-guided activities suggested by UEC staff, and videos on a whole range of ecology topics:

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So, while we’re sad that we can’t be together for Community Planting Day this year, we hope you will find a way to participate in the spirit of Community Planting Day in your own yard or neighborhood. Feel free to take a picture of yourself or your family planting, pulling invasive species, or learning new things and share it with us on social media using #uecinmybackyard and #myuec. 

Jeff Veglahn

Jeff Veglahn

Jeff was born and raised in La Crosse, Wis. enjoying what the Mississippi River and wetlands had to offer. He received a B.S. in Ecology from Winona State University in Winona, Minn. After graduating in 2009, he and his wife moved here to Milwaukee. Jeff was hired here at the Urban Ecology Center as the Seasonal Land Steward at Riverside Park in 2011. In January of 2013, he started as the permanent Land Steward for the Menomonee Valley branch. His favorite activities include cooking (eating), fishing, and exploring personal faith based disciplines.

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