ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - The brisk fall weather didn't stop close to a dozen volunteers Oct. 22 as they planted hundreds of shrubs and flowers representing 22 species on the east side of Garrison Headquarters.

This effort represented Phase 1 of the Women in Bloom project, a memorial garden that will recognize military and civilian women's achievements in research and development on the installation since its founding in 1917.

During Phase 2 of the "Women in Bloom," project, a memorial will be installed that highlights the accomplishments of female researchers and scientists at APG. This memorial garden, which will be officially dedicated in March during Women's History Month, will be the first of its kind on a military installation.

"Many memorials across the nation honor the sacrifices of women during the war effort in a Rosie-the-Riveter fashion, which is wonderful, but in our study of what actually exists on other installations, none really showcases the importance of women's brainpower in advancing our nation's defense," said Terri Kaltenbacher, an APG garrison employee who is co-managing the project with partner Deidre DeRoia, Department of Public Works environmental protection specialist. "Women made and are still making significant intellectual contributions to our military.

"Also, the garden will provide a relaxing, contemplative natural space where people can come for a break during lunch," she said.

To execute this project, APG was awarded $6,500 grant from the Department of Defense Legacy Resource Management Program to mark the 18th annual National Public Lands Day. This event was created to bring together volunteers to improve and restore the lands and facilities that Americans use for recreation, education, exercise and relaxation, and provides funds for NPLD projects on military lands open to the public.

DeRoia said that the 400-squar- foot garden will be beneficial to the environment because the plants that were selected for the garden are all native flowers and trees that will provide food and habitat for pollinators.

"Pollinators, animals and insects that transfer pollen grains from flower to flower, are in significant decline across the country and around the world," DeRoia said. "Declines are associated with parasites, habitat loss, fragmentation, landscape deterioration, and climate change. Because pollinators and plants are so interdependent, the decline in pollinators threatens biodiversity. Without pollinators, native landscapes might become barren or overrun by invasive species. Native plant communities like pollinator gardens resist erosion, are resilient to fire, and provide realistic and safe testing and training environments on which our Warfighters depend."

DeRoia said she planned the garden so that there will be flowers blooming throughout the year. In each season the plants will attract different species of butterflies and ruby-throated hummingbirds, the only hummingbird species that is commonly found in Maryland.

"It takes about three years for a garden to fully develop," DeRoia said, "so I am interested to see how it will progress over time."

DeRoia said that once the garden is fully developed it should be a low maintenance project, with minimal watering.

"The pollinator garden can be used as a great learning tool for children," she said. "It will be a place where Boy and Girl Scouts can work on earning their gardening merit badges and students can volunteer to help maintain the garden."

"And I'm hoping the memorial will serve as an inspiration to young women to pursue careers in the sciences, too," said Kaltenbacher.

For instance APG's Justin Daniels, 13, from Harford Day School volunteered to help plant the garden Oct. 22 as part of a school community service project.

Other volunteers included Lynda Hartzell, Karen Jobes, Allison O'Brien, Mark Gallihue, Liam Gallihue, Terri Kaltenbacher, Laura Franke and Hlib Hayuk (Col. Ret).

For more information on the garden, contact DeRoia at 410-278-0536 or deidre.m.deroia.civ@mail.mil. For more information on the Women's R&D Memorial, contact Kaltenbacher at 410-278-3775 or teresa.a.kaltenbacher.civ@mail.mil.