Anna Heindl / Equinox Staff

Amanda Bevis

Equinox Staff

Earlier this month, The New England Wildflower Society visited Keene State College to plant a pollinator garden outside of the Living and Learning Commons.

Debbi Edelstein, the Executive Director of the New England Wildflower Society, was unavailable for an interview. However, Edelstein requested the Director of Public Programs of the Society, Courtney Allen, to be her point person.

Allen described what a pollinator garden is, explaining that they focus on creating a healthy habitat for pollinators like insects and animals.

“The pollinators are very important to us as humans. The pollinators create different kinds of plant diversity that create a healthy ecosystem, and many ecosystems rely on themselves. We as humans are so dependent on pollinators. The important things pollinators are responsible for are our food, preserving landscapes and the plants we see in our daily lives,” Allen said.

As stated by Allen, Keene State’s dedication to going green was an important factor in the selection of a location for pollinator gardens.

“During the process of Pollinate New England, the Society put out applications. Keene State College caught our eye with its commitment to sustainability and spreading it further. To have a demonstration pollinator garden at Keene State to further educate is a wonderful outcome,” Allen said.

Audrey Kaiser is a junior biology major with a minor in environmental studies.

She is also one of the leaders of Keene State’s Garden Club, who were able to speak about how they help pollinators on campus. “We have a lot of plants that promote pollination. Something we’re practicing to promote healthy pollinators is we’re not cutting back our large perennials. By leaving those species up in the winter, you are allowing pollinators a place to stay, hide, and live in. It provides nutrients for them. It’s good to leave those plants up; it benefits the pollinators,” she elaborated.

“Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the planting or the workshop for the pollinator garden, but with our permaculture garden, we are learning about native species and working toward building a bit of a community.”

The Garden Club is open to everyone who wants to learn about permaculture, gardening and learning how to plant healthy foods. The club meets in the Science Center Courtyard on Fridays at 1:30 p.m.

According to Courtney Allen, there are plenty of ways to be a part of the New England Wildflower Society: “Through Pollinate New England, as a whole, we interacted and spread to 900 people.”

A manual will be published that will be a synthesis of the different efforts that went into the pollinator gardens.

Allen said that it will include different components of what went into the workshops, lectures and how to install the gardens.

On October 28, The New England Wildflower Society will be holding a pollinator symposium at the Susan N. McLane Audubon Center in Concord, New Hampshire that will go more into the science and research of pollinators and how to promote them. Similarly, the Society has two sanctuaries in New Hampshire.

The Hobbs Fern Sanctuary in Lyman is noted to be the most unique natural area owned by the Society, and the Plainfield Sanctuary located in Plainfield has been designated by New Hampshire’s Critical Areas Program to be a “unique area” as well.

Amanda Bevis can be contacted at

abevis@kscequionox.com