Old junkyard becomes home to pollinator habitat

By The Associated Press

DRESSER — Butterflies, bees, birds, bats and small mammals have found a home in a former auto junkyard along the Wabash River in western Indiana.

A pollinator habitat has sprung up at the site of the Wabashiki Fish and Wildlife Area due to a $20,000 grant from Duke Energy and the efforts of the Vigo County Parks and Recreation Department, the (Terre Haute) Tribune-Star reported.

“What an opportunity for Vigo County and Terre Haute to be able to come out of downtown Terre Haute, ride your bike down here, visit this pollinator planting, see the wetlands, go to Dewey Point. What an awesome trail system for the Vigo County parks system,” said county parks Superintendent Adam Grossman on Wednesday as officials and Riverscape organization supporters visited the site.

Grossman noted that the old junkyard will give Monarch butterflies a place to visit during their annual journey from Canada to Mexico.

The nature area is a continuous project being coordinated with a pedestrian bridge across the river and a trail along the highway to the Dewey Point access of Wabashiki.

State Sen. Jon Ford has pushed for the connector trail from Terre Haute to West Terre Haute.

“This will be a great addition for people to come across the river from Terre Haute to view the butterfly garden and then go on to Dewey Point,” Ford said.

About 20 different plant species, including milkweek and ronweed, are growing in a raised bed at the site.

Jeremy Stakeman of Cheapscapes landscaping and his crew spent 27 hours planting. He said the grasses won’t flower but will provide a cover for the butterflies and insects to rest, and the tall grass will support the taller flowers.

Rick Burger, district manager for Duke Energy, said the project is an exciting environmental development that cleaned up a junkyard and benefits the community.

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