Crow’s Nest: Planting a Pollinator Patch

June 9, 2022

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager

This week we completed the seeding of a “pollinator patch” at Crow’s Nest Preserve. This was an area beside a crop strip that was unused by the farmer because of its awkward shape and the need for his equipment to maintain strips of constant width. You’ll pass the planting as you walk up the hill toward our kestrel box on the way to the Chief’s Grove.

An aerial view of farm fields with a pollinator planting area highlighted

Photo: Daniel Barringer

Below, a photo of the pan of the seed which Cody mixed with oatmeal to ensure even distribution through the mechanical seeder. This project was the result of a lot of cooperation and sharing of equipment: Preston Wilson shared the Dew Drop seeder from Paunacussing Preserve; this small seeder is more appropriate for this small planting (0.4 acres) compared the the large Truax seed drill we used to plant 90 acres at Green Hills a few years ago.

Sean Quinn from Cheslen Preserve loaned us a Gator UTV that had been used for prescribed fire earlier this spring, Erin Smith (Willisbrook, Sadsbury Woods, and Green Hills Preserves) coordinated the Gator’s schedule among projects at other preserves, and Stewardship Assistant Claudia Winters trailered it to Crow’s Nest. Senior Director of Stewardship Gary Gimbert helped me pick a couple seed mixes and farmer Jim Bartlett prepared the site by spraying the weeds there. Cody Hudgens calibrated the seeder, and along with Interns Allie Cook and Joe Tricarico, took turns doing the seeding. None of these projects are accomplished alone. Thanks to all who assisted.

A pan of wildflower seed mixed with oatmeal for spreading in a mechanical seeder

Photo: Cody Hudgens

Below, Allie Cook lowers the seeder to start another pass. Keep your eye on this land as over the next couple years the pollinator plants become established. With some good weather and time you should be able to see wildflowers such as butterfly weed, coreopsis, penstemon, golden Alexanders, mountain mint, wild bergamot, purple coneflower, black-eyed Susan, partridge pea, a couple species of asters and goldenrods, blue false indigo, and oxeye sunflower.

Allie Cook driving an all-terrain vehicle towing a seeder

Photo: Cody Hudgens