For a full list of our 2023 Spotlight on Nature events, go here.
See below for event details.
Event focus: Native Plants & Insects
Nectar and/or pollen attracts many types of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, flies, wasps and beetles. The Nature Place Native Gardens consist of a rain garden, pollinator garden, areas extending from the patio on the north, a native tall grass area to the west of the building, and a retention basin between the parking lot and the marsh. All the gardens provide habitat for native insects, birds, and other wildlife, with many diverse plants native to the area. Our presenters will give a tour of the gardens and will discuss the value of native plants and pollinators and explore our role in preserving and restoring our natural environment. (If you are interested in volunteering for one of our weekly volunteer days, please go to “Volunteer Wisconsin – Garden with us!“ Other volunteer times can be arranged, and questions can be answered by contacting Veronica Sannes, or by calling 608-782-2494.)
MJ Hatfield: Hello! My name is MJ and the path has been interesting. I was employed as a UPS driver (before they could track us), then took early retirement to accept an AmeriCorps position with the Iowa DNR Prairie Resource Center. The resultant education award allowed me to take entomology courses at Iowa State University where I became more enthused about insects. (They are fascinating.) I manage (or try to) small parcels of land for biodiversity, photograph and rear insects posting some results to BugGuide.net
Looking for insects feeding on native plants is a treasure hunt and rearing them sometimes yields new information such as host plant, range, life cycle—connecting larvae to adults, and occasionally new species to science.
Walk slow, look close, be curious.
Betty Kruck, Bluff Country Master Gardener & Myrick Native Gardens Coordinator: My name is Betty Kruck and I have been a Master Gardener volunteer at Myrick Native Gardens since the gardens were started around 2012. My interest in native plants and their relationship to native insects and other wildlife begin about 25 years ago when I lived in the Racine/Kenosha area. After retirement from teaching my husband and I moved south of Genoa in 2001 where we have sought to develop an environment that attracts a variety of wildlife and pollinators. The project at Myrick has been an exciting and challenging opportunity to learn more about native plants, the wildlife they support, and the relationships and dependence of the life that makes up a healthy ecosystem.
Stephanie Hanna, Community Program Manager: Hello! My name is Stephanie Hanna and I have been an educator in an informal nature setting in the La Crosse Area for 21 years. Before that I was a school teacher. My constant connection to nature ever since I played with and likely ate June bugs in my sandbox at a very young age has helped shape my role as an environmental/nature educator. I enjoy walking and hiking with Astro, my precocious poodle, as well as cycling, yoga, reading, and just being outdoors as much as possible.
Veronica Sannes, AmeriCorps member at WisCorps – Visitor Services Garden and Grounds: Hello! My name is Veronica Sannes and I am in my second AmeriCorps term at WisCorps working in the Native Gardens. I recently graduated from UW–La Crosse with my degree in Biology with a concentration in Aquatic Science. When I’m not in the gardens I enjoying hiking, painting, reading, and exploring! Other volunteer times can be arranged, and questions can be answered by contacting the Native Gardens team, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 608-782-2494.
This event is part of the Spotlight on Nature Event Series and The Nature Place’s “Nature Saturday” program.
The series, part of the Driftless Area BioBlitz 2023 Nature Challenge, is your chance to participate in a bioblitz with experts sharing their passion for and knowledge of the driftless region. There will be eight different events, each focusing on various taxa like fungi, moss and lichens, pollinator plants, birds, and insects, including nocturnal and decomposers.
This FREE event can be attended in-person or virtually on Facebook live (link to come).