Project Wingspan, Part 2: Planting Milkweed at Boston Pond

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KLT botanist and WOK member Valorie Troesch, KLT intern Kyle Naparala, and Wild One Valorie Troesch check out Project Wingspan milkweed plugs before planting them at the Boston Pond Nature Area.

It was dirty, buggy work, but someone had to do it: fulfill the final chapter of Project Wingspan and plant dozens of common milkweed seedlings at the Keweenaw Land Trust Boston Pond Nature Area. Armed with shovels, trowels, and other implements from the gardener’s toolkit, Keweenaw Wild Ones volunteers joined KLT intern Kyle Naparala and KLT botanist (and WOK member) Jill Fisher at the roadside park June 10.

Jill Fisher extracts a hybrid knapweed from a native plant area.
KLT intern Kyle Naparala gives thumbs up to Project Wingspan.

Project Wingspan is a multistate project by the Pollinator Partnership to expand habitat for pollinators. Last year, teams of trained volunteers gathered wild-grown native plant seed, which was then propagated in nurseries. Those seedlings are now being planted in areas that have lost their native vegetation, including Boston Pond. In October, Wild Ones Marcia Goodrich and Valorie Troesch collected milkweed and other native plant seeds with a Project Wingspan team in the Ottawa National Forest.

“I’m delighted to be able to see the fruit of our efforts collecting these seeds last fall,” Troesch said. “Now we have all these little plants; it’s so much fun to be putting them in the ground. Hopefully we’ll come back and see that they’ve become big plants.”

 The effort is part of an ongoing partnership between KLT and WOK. “We’re so grateful to the volunteers and Project Wingspan for helping us create a better environment for pollinators at the Boston Pond Nature Area,” said Fisher. “We’ve been working to increase native plant populations here for years, often with the help of our Wild Ones friends. Boston Pond is going to be more beautiful and more useful thanks to these partnerships.”

Valorie Troesch, Kyle Naparala, and Jill Fisher taking a short break from planting Project Wingspan common milkweed at the Keweenaw Land Trust Boston Boston Pond Nature Area.

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