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Planting for pollinators: Volunteers dig in to help Baxter's Loren Thompson Pollinator Park

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Crow Wing master gardener Dorothy Hans (left) and her husband Rick plant pollinators Tuesday, Sept. 11, in Loren Thompson Park in Baxter. The project originated three years ago by Crow Wing Power and the city of Baxter to to create an educational pollinator garden for area residents. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch Video and Gallery 2 / 2

BAXTER—Planting of plants attractive to pollinators was completed Tuesday, Sept. 11, at Loren Thompson Park in Baxter.

Volunteers helped with the planting and the three-year project is nearly complete. The event had seven adults and five children working together to plant 350 assorted plants from coneflowers to goldenrod, bee balm, blue aster, four types of milkweed and countless other species carefully designed to attract and sustain butterflies and bees.

The project began three years ago as a Crow Wing Power GreenTouch program. For many years, Crow Wing Power assisted state and local parks with the help of volunteers, many of them members of Crow Wing Power's electric cooperative.

Three years ago, the city of Baxter was ready to build an educational pollinator garden for area residents. Master naturalist Ken Lueken was asked to step in as a volunteer consultant and provided some of the plants and advice over the years. The city of Baxter provided tools and labor and Crow Wing Power helped with paving, signage, volunteering and plants.

This year, Lueken had other master gardeners Coralee Fox and Dorothy Hans help with master naturalist Rick Hans digging in as well.

Crow Wing Power provided a couple of employee volunteers and member Britany West brought her home-schooled five children: Connor, Parker, Madison, Evander and baby Alexander. They learned how to dig holes, space and properly plant plants and the value of volunteering and planting pollinators. The city of Baxter had a few employees helping as well.