Life On Lookout

Bee City Pollinator Festival a Success

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Betsy Rice, artist

The first Bee City USA Pollinator Festival sponsored by the Lookout Mountain Beautiful Garden Club was a huge success, drawing local residents and people from across the Tennessee Valley.
Volunteers decorated the Lookout Mountain School gym with student artwork detailing pollinators, and there was a wide array of how-to booths staffed by Bee City USA community partners like the Tennessee Aquarium, Crabtree Farms, Reflection Riding and Nature Center, the Tennessee Valley Chapter of Wild Ones, Chattanooga’s chapter of the North American Butterfly Association, The Barn Nursery and the Master Gardeners of Hamilton County. The honeybee hive in a glass case demonstrated by third generation Georgia beekeeper Derick Forester and Sophia Price’s bee beauty products were special treats. Artists Betsy Rice and Ann Caldwell displayed and sold their artwork. Ms. Rice actually auctioned off a painting and donated part of the proceeds to Bee City USA!
Participants learned pollinator gardening techniques from the Tennessee Valley chapter of the Wild Ones and were urged to add butterfly host plants to their gardens to help raise the next generation of butterflies. Everyone was fascinated by the monarch and pipevine swallowtail caterpillars on display, all happily chomping on their host plants.
Lynn Chartier displayed invasive plants and suggested the least toxic way to eradicate them to protect our large trees. Craig Walker from the Barn Nursery offered organic solutions to common yard problems. Both of them stressed the festivals’ theme of creating pesticide-free yards that are healthy places for humans, pets, pollinators and wildlife on the mountain.
Attendees purchased native pesticide-free plants from Reflection Riding and the Wild Ones. Christine Bock-Hunt from the Tennessee Aquarium gave away native coneflowers, coreopsis and phlox so everyone took home pollinator-friendly plants for their yards.
Mayor Carol Mutter and Mayor David Bennett awarded prizes to the winners of the “Why be a Friend to Pollinators” poster contest. The winners from Lookout Mountain School are: Sarah Pettit, first place; Mclean Murray, second place; Mim Roedder, third place. The winners from Fairyland Elementary School are: Camp Lehn, first place; Lucy Heald, second place, and Tulley Brock, third place.
A special thanks to Ruth White, principal of LMS, Coach Rick Dockery and Ginger Birnbaum, president of the PTA, for opening the gym and enthusiastically supporting the festival. The support of this festival showed that Lookout Mountain residents are serious about their commitment to create a more welcoming habitat for native bees, birds, butterflies and other pollinators. The message from this festival on the first World Bee Day is that we are in trouble when the buzzing stops. Hopefully our community will do its part to make sure the buzzing continues for generations to come.

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