As the sun rose over the Mill Creek channel a group of ten students from Whitman College's Summer Community Out-Reach Excursion or SCORE program, volunteered to help Park Tech Sandy Hatton clear a small area of land for a pollinator garden on their Saturday morning.
The SCORE coordinator reached out to Sandy looking for an opportunity to help. Their offer could not have come at a better time. The land for the garden needed to be cleared before seeds were sown in October.
Hatton explained, "The Pollinator Garden will come into bloom, hopefully by next spring. We are doing the planting this fall, so the rains in the spring should naturally bring it up. Some of the plants will be coming up in the spring, but a few of the plants that we are planting will take two years to flower."
Milkweed, Three-Nerved Daisy, and the common sunflower are just a few of the native flowers needed to attract pollinators to the Bennington Lake and the Mill Creek project site.
Hatton said, "It is important to have pollinator gardens because a lot of pollinators are in drastic decline, in particular, this garden is to help the monarch population who rely solely on Milkweed for their life cycle and a lot of those butterflies are dying due to pesticides."
The volunteers cleared woody debris, picked at a path and laid down geotextile to provide an inviting space for future visitors. Coming out to help with the garden is just one of the many ways that students are getting involved in learning and serving the Walla Walla Community.
Teddy Larkin, a senior at Whitman College, helps lead the SCORE volunteers and also imparts guidance through his own service.
Larkin said, "At Whitman, I really like to volunteer because it gets me out of the Whitman bubble and I get to go out into the Walla Walla community and see this area that I am calling home for four years, which is something that is kind of easy to neglect."
The members of this team spend time learning about themselves, their peers, and a new home through Out-Reach.
"I thought this would be a really great way for them to see the development over the years that they are here at Whitman College," Hatton noted.
A way to be able to enjoy the "flowers" of their labor, come this spring, and a way to personally sow seeds through service.
"I appreciate how a small amount of my time can make a tremendous impact," said Larkin.