Westlake Scout installs pollinator garden

Grant Junkins, left, is helped by Jessica Hanes, Anne Harris and Owen Welliver in planting a pollinator-friendly garden next to Clague Playhouse as part of his Eagle Scout project. Photo by Kelli Junkins

In November, the city of Westlake gained a new pollinator garden, thanks to Grant Junkins, a Westlake High School senior who has lived in Westlake for 10 years.

The “Clague Memorial Pollinator Garden” is located at the Clague Playhouse on Clague Road, south of Detroit. The entire project was planned, developed, and led by Grant as part of his quest to earn Eagle rank as a Boy Scout. Grant is currently a Life Rank Boy Scout and has been involved with scouting since he was in second grade. He is working toward his Eagle rank in Troop 225 of St. Bernadette’s Catholic Church.

Eagle is the highest rank a Boy Scout can achieve. To earn Eagle, specific criteria must be met that includes the earning of merit badges as well as completing service hours. Only 4 percent of scouts earn their Eagle rank!

I had the pleasure of interviewing Grant about his project via email. When I heard about this garden, I knew it was something that all of Westlake and Bay Village should know about!

I asked Grant why he felt this particular type of garden is important to the community. He responded that he felt it was important to preserve local pollinators such as honeybees, hummingbirds, and butterflies, because they are crucial to the growth of fruits and vegetables. There has been an alarming decrease of pollinators nationally in recent years, and Grant knows that providing local support for these types of animals is very important to their survival and preservation locally.

Pollinator gardens support and maintain local pollinators because the plants provide pollen and nectar that they use for food. Pollinator gardens ensure that pollinators stay in the local area because they have access to the plants they need, which then ensures continued support for local fruit and vegetable production and preservation of local biodiversity. Pollinator gardens contain plants that bloom at different times, providing ongoing support for the pollinators from spring to fall, and do not utilize pesticides. 

Last spring, Grant met with the Westlake city service department and city engineers. Together, they discussed some possible projects that would impact the community positively. Clague Playhouse was mentioned as a nice location to provide some enhancement, which inspired Grant to consider and decide on the pollinator garden idea.

Cahoon Nursery aided Grant in choosing the perennials he would plant. Grant then himself planned and diagrammed how the plants would be planted to build not only a productive garden, but also an aesthetically pleasing garden. He also installed a rain barrel in the garden to conserve water that will be used to water the garden. The city donated leaf humus for soil enrichment as well as two yards of wood chips.

For more information about the garden and the types of insects and animals it attracts as well as the types of plants planted, visit: www.cityofwestlake.org/837/Pollinator-Garden-Project.

In addition to his planning and executing of this amazing project that is an environmental asset to Westlake, Grant has volunteered to help the Metroparks clear invasive plants, he has helped with beach cleanups at Huntington, and he has volunteered to clear trash and debris from local waterways. He knows that a healthy environment is directly related to healthy communities. He plans to continue seeking opportunities to help the environment when he can.

I know that Grant is an inspiration to myself, and I hope he inspires you to go out and make a difference in the community! You might be wondering what you can do aside from a large-scale project that Grant did. Well, your individual actions can make a difference. You can fill your home garden with diverse, native plant species that bloom at different times, and avoid pesticides. Doing this will ensure you’re on your way to creating your own pollinator garden! Each of us can make a difference.

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Volume 12, Issue 23, Posted 10:05 AM, 12.01.2020