Summer youth workers spruce up fossil centre

Andrew Wagstaff
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Pollinator garden the latest addition

JOGGINS – Even local insects have a reason to visit the Joggins Fossil Centre, thanks to the efforts of summer students Josh Goodwin and Zach Creese.

The pair of Cumberland County youths has been hired by Environmental Youth Conservation Corps, a provincial organization under the auspices of the Ecology Action Centre, to partner with the fossil centre and the River Hebert and Area Garden Club to work on a number of projects.

With funding from Clean Nova Scotia, the program aims to provide employment benefit to local youth, while contributing to local environmental health.

“This is our main project… the granddaddy,” said Zach, pointing to the pollinator garden they were working on last week. “We just laid this our yesterday.”

The interns were awaiting the arrival of a truckload of compost, donated by the Municipality of Cumberland County, and then they were going to begin planting assorted wildflowers in a new pollinator garden at the entrance to the fossil centre.

“We always try to attract animals and insects that should be here to help grow our garden,” said Dr. Melissa Grey, curator of paleontology at the fossil centre. “The planting of the pollinator garden will be really useful to help our veggie garden grow.”

The interns have been planning the project since they started their jobs in early July, researching the plants that would be suitable for the area, sourcing the plants, and designing the garden. A bench and an interpretive sign will be added later.

The pollinator garden is just one of many projects the interns are working on, according to Su Morin, community food co-ordinator for Cumberland with the Ecology Action Centre.

“They will also be doing some tree replanting, because we have to move trees that we planted last year at the tidal bore park near Heritage Models, because the soil is badly contaminated there,” she said. “There’s a green space across from the Co-Op, so we’re moving some trees there, and some here.”

The interns also helped plant a similar pollinator garden in Springhill this year, and will hopefully find time to visit a couple of local farms, she said. But the majority of their work has been focused at the fossil centre, including weeding, planting and pruning.

They have also put up bat boxes and bee houses, and have helped with a children’s learning garden at the centre, according to Grey, who said the interns will lead a tour of the landscaping work they have done later this summer.

“I think they have earned a lot,” she said. “I know I’ve certainly learned some things from them.”

Twitter: @ADNandrew

Organizations: Ecology Action Centre, Joggins Fossil Centre, River Hebert and Area Garden Club

Geographic location: Cumberland County, Springhill

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