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The Dirt | Announcing our first Jerry Paul Native Pollinator Conservation Grantees

Text "Jerry Paul Native Pollinator Conservation Grant" with bee graphic.

We've officially chosen the recipients of our first annual Jerry Paul Native Pollinator Conservation Grant!

This grant was established this Spring in honor of the late Jerry Paul, a long-time BSWCD Board Director and a passionate advocate for pollinators and conservation. Funded by both BSWCD and generous donors, this grant program aims to provide funding to individuals and groups who wish to support native pollinator species through gardens, habitat restoration, education programs, and other projects.

In total we recieved 17 applications for this grant, from private individuals, non-profit groups, local businesses, and educational institutions. Proposed projects ranged from native hedgerows to riparian restoration, meadow planting, demonstration gardens, and much more. Yet all applications shared one notable trait in common: a passion for pollinators, native plants, conservation, and land stewardship. "It's a tribute to our community that there's so much interest in these issues, and so much dedication to creating pollinator-benefiting natural spaces," says Sara Roberts, Community Engagement Coordinator and community grants manager for BSWCD.

Finalists were selected by a review committee composed of BSWCD staff. Because of the high quality of applications, the decision was a difficult one - so difficult, that the decision was made to fund more projects than anticipated! Our 4 grant recipients represent an array of projects as diverse as the pollinators they'll benefit. 

We hope this grant program will continue to blossom, and provide inspiration for others, as Jerry did for so many during his time with Benton SWCD. Meet the grantees by clicking the drop-down menus below!

Corvallis Evening Garden Club / Monarch on 4th 

This project will design and install a native pollinator garden at Monarch on 4th, a space serving at-risk women and families in downtown Corvallis. The garden will serve as a space to connect to nature, and an inspiration for others to incorporate pollinator plants in their own gardens.

Robin Strauss of the Corvallis Evening Garden Club says, “As native plant enthusiasts, our primary mission is to promote the vision of Dr. Doug Tallamy, founder of Homegrown National Park, to conserve nature by bringing it into our yards, transforming half of the lawns in America into conservation corridors that provide wildlife habitats.”

Tyler Roberts 

Tyler is a restoration ecologist with Institute for Applied Ecology. He plans to use this funding to create a multi-layer pollinator habitat at his home in North Albany, which will include invasive species removal, year-round blooming native plants, and bee boxes.

Says Roberts, “I find great purpose and fulfillment when working in natural habitat recovery and in making positive change to what limited area I can control. I enjoy watching native plants flourish and seeing the way that they support a greater ecosystem and will gain endless wonder from having a productive habitat as my back yard.”

CoHo Eco-Village 

This grant will support ongoing efforts of the Coho Eco-Village Homeowners Association to expand their native camas meadow, which they’ve been restoring for several years. They will also extend their outreach efforts by inviting Indigenous OSU students and visitors to the Southtown farmer’s market to learn about the meadow.

Amy Becker of the Coho Grounds Team says, “This meadow is at the intersection of 2 well-travelled roads. Pedestrians walk by everyday, with their dogs, kids, and friends. When I’m working out in the meadow, people often stop by and ask me questions. They enjoy looking at the plants, and hopefully get inspired to plant native plants in their garden.”

Karen Smith 

A resident of south Corvallis, Karen is a veteran of the Backyard Habitat Certification program in Hillsboro. She plans to apply her expertise to her new property by creating a native hedgerow, including educational signage for passers-by.

Smith says, “While I cannot solve every problem facing humanity, I have the privilege of using my yard to welcome and help restore pollinator populations. From a personal perspective, pollinators are mesmerizing, beloved creatures. My children and I are enchanted by bees buzzing and colorful butterflies fluttering, and we have been known to just sit and watch them. Our lives are richer for their existence.”