Springtime is officially here in the Treasure Valley! Plants are in full-bloom along the greenbelt and wildflowers are studding the foothills. One place you may notice thriving plants is Warm Springs Park, which is Golden Eagle Audubon’s (GEAS) Adopt-A-Park. Our volunteers and community partners have worked hard the past two years to install and maintain a native plant garden at the park. Now, birds and pollinators are enjoying a variety of native plants such as hoary aster, blue flax, yarrow, and showy milkweed!
Healthy native plant communities are vital for the survival and well-being of SW Idaho birds. Our native birds have coexisted with these plants for centuries and rely on them for food and shelter. Pockets of native plant habitat like the garden at Warm Springs Park increases habitat connectivity for birds, allowing them more opportunities to find food and places to rest and raise their young.
The Warm Springs native plant garden has been a community effort from its conceptualization to its execution and ongoing maintenance. GEAS sourced funding for the project in 2018 from a Neighborhoods Investment Grant in partnership with the East End Neighborhood Association. FarWest Landscape and Garden Center generously provided the landscaping and garden design and many of the plants installed were grown by students and volunteers from the Treasure Valley Native Plant Network. City of Boise Parks and Recreation staff members Kristin Gnojewski and Jerry Pugh were also instrumental in the execution of the project and recruitment of volunteers.
The installation of the garden relied on the efforts of many volunteers and community partners. Botanist and GEAS volunteer Ann DeBolt did much of the garden design and preparation work for the installation. Students from Maggie Wilson’s classroom at Adams Elementary grew seedlings and helped with a big planting event at the site. In the summer of 2019, students from the New Roots Program installed many of the plants as part of their STEM summer camp program. In recent months, GEAS volunteers have worked on maintaining the garden by removing invasive weeds and picking up trash. The City of Boise will not be using pesticides to maintain the garden (also a very bird-friendly practice) so future weed control will rely on hand-pulling by volunteer efforts.
Thriving native plant communities like the one at Warm Springs Park are critical to the survival of our native birds and pollinators. If you would like to support GEAS in engaging our communities in increasing bird-friendly habitat, please consider donating to us during Idaho Gives (April 23 - May 7) this year. Your donation will go a long way in helping our SW Idaho birds flourish!