The Giving Meadow at Blackburn Circle
Art and Environmental Restoration Plants Project, 7500 sf meadow, 3,000 plants, 20 pounds seed
Route 128 Rotary, Gloucester, 2022-2024
Cape Ann is one of the few service stops in the vast Gulf of Maine on a migration superhighway north and south. Research has revealed that the resting and feeding habitat for migratory birds is dwindling rapidly. According to a leading entomologist, Doug Tallamy, the need has never been more urgent to address the loss of biodiversity. For example, bird populations have declined by almost a third in the past half century, according to a 2019 study. Despite this grave news we can all pitch in and do something to help.
Our group’s goal is to create more diverse habitats for migrating and non-migrating species to attract a myriad of bugs that they can feed on and food sources through plants. Last winter I partnered with the Department of Transportation to adopt the Blackburn Circle and transform it into a better ecosystem. The Blackburn Circle rotary is a parcel of land which consists primarily of turf-grass that requires mowing and fertilization. In September and October of 2022 ten community volunteers gathered to help plant out a 7,500 square foot meadow in the middle of the rotary. Over half of the plants were donated by these avid native plant enthusiasts who are growing and sharing these plants to the community free of charge minimizing costs and plastic waste and making it easier to say ‘YES’ to planting natives. The plants were put directly into the organic herbicide treated grass which was rototilled prior to planting. This minimized labor and the need to haul material off-site and maximized using the decomposing turf as mulch for the planted meadow. Because Blackburn Circle is inaccessible to the public, lead artist, Kim Radochia, is seeking an additional space in the community that will serve as an educational native garden and is also planning for the next phase of the project at Blackburn Circle which will include naturalized sculpture and additional work on building a healthy habitat. The project will evolve over the next two to three years and will create a model for collaborative, cost efficient, sustainable habitat building that anyone can implement in their own back yards, towns, and cities.