By Anna Skinner
Orchard Park Presbyterian Church has begun a project to encourage a natural habitat for pollinators, as well as to establish a rain garden to aid in water run-off.
“Orchard Park is embarking on a multi-year project with the hopes of greening our grounds through the use of native plantings. Essentially, we want to better manage the water run-off and collect pollutants while at the same time create a more sustainable habitat for our made-by-God creatures,” said Scott Crist, a member of the church’s property and grounds committee. “We will also save quite a bit of money annually on mowing costs, and we will reduce our carbon emissions.”
The church, at 1605 E. 106th St., installed one pollinator garden on Earth Day of this year, and it is working to install the rain garden. The entire project is expected to cost $9,000, and the church plans to add the rain garden sometime next year.
“Our goal is to kickstart that process through the pollinator garden. We’ve got that installed now and are just managing it,” Crist said. “The rain garden is going to reduce rain run-off, allowing storm water to soak into the ground. It reenergizes the aquifer as opposed to flowing into a storm drain or becoming surface water that causes erosion.”
The pollinator garden includes natural plants to encourage pollinators such as bats, bees, hummingbirds, butterflies and waterfowl to take refuge in it.
Crist has partnered with Claire Lane, an urban conservationist with the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation, and Megan Dillon, an urban wildlife biologist with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, to accomplish his project.
“I would call it the best practice for churches, land owners, commercial companies or anyone that owns land, as we are all stewards of property and charged to take care of property,” Crist said. “It is for the better good of our critters that are dying off.”