About the Project
People, plants, and pollinators: Enhancing the innovative living laboratory at the PSU Sustainability Experience Center (SEC) Community Garden was funded by Penn State's Sustainability Institute's Reinvention Fund at the University Park campus in the amount of $15,000.
The PSU Community Garden Student club has started a community-based project to construct a pollinator garden adjacent to the community garden at the Sustainability Experience Center at the University Park campus. This project is intended to engage scholarship around the subject of sustainable food production and the central role pollinators play. The project will enhance educational and functional aspects of the Community Garden by installing a suite of educational and instructional signage.
The project will advance the “living lab” concept at Penn State by providing a dynamic, hands-on learning environment that serves as a platform for teaching about agricultural, ecological, social and other topics that are intrinsically woven into broader topics of sustainability.
The project is designed to be incorporated into both new and existing curricula for students from PSU and local schools. Students enrolled in a wide variety of courses will have access to this dynamic educational asset, in addition to student organizations and community members via workshops, tours and workdays.
The establishment of the pollinator garden will have rapid and long-term benefits to local pollinators insects. Educational workshops organized by club officers, as well as the educational signage, will provide attendees and members information on how to install and maintain a pollinator garden at home. The strictly organic practices used will allow for all insects, including pollinators and native fauna, to thrive throughout the year.
The Community Garden Club at PSU has embarked on the installation of a 1,900 sq ft pollinator garden. Over the course of 3 work days, community garden members have come together to smother weeds, layout walkways, and build sheet mulched beds.
This project is intended to last long into the future and to contain many perennial plants. In order to ensure adequate nutrients and minimal weeds in a chemical free environment, the group decided to install sheet mulched planting beds. This involved creating a base layer of soil topped with compost. This layer was then planted with a cover crop. After one month, the cover crop was covered with cardboard and mineral dust, leaf mold, and more compost were added on top. This bed preparation technique will ensure adequate nutrient availability for the pollinator plants for many seasons.
As temperatures drop this fall, and conditions are more favorable for planting, the club will install the pollinator plants. Many of these plants will be sourced from Penn State's Master Gardeners and local nurseries. Future work days and workshops will be announced online.
Visit the Community Garden website