Jefferson Community Center native pollinators landscape

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Jefferson Community Center in Eureka, California is a gathering place for education, community activism, and revitalization of its urban neighborhood. Formerly the Jefferson Elementary School, it was transformed by the Westside Community Improvement Association (WCIA), a group of volunteers who built a playground area, fields, and native plant gardens. The JCC is directed by Heidi Benzonelli-Burden, a Humboldt State engineering graduate.


The objective of this project is to develop a native plant garden in the Jefferson Community Center consisting of two parts: a field planted with low-growing native perennials, and a garden with food-bearing, pollinators, and medicinal plants. This will improve the aesthetics of the community center, while providing useful plant products to local residents.

Project Evaluation Criteria[edit]

The following Criteria will be used to assess the success of this project. These criteria were chosen based on the suggestions of the project coordinator as well as the diligent students who are working on the catchment system. The scale (1-10) represents the importance level of meeting the constraint of each listed criteria.

Criteria Constraints Weight
Community Create the ability for students at the JCC and local community members to have access to an area that can bring forth native pollinators and can be used for recreation.
Maintainability The appearance and usability of the garden and field are preserved by regular maintenance, including reseeding of plants which have died.
Aesthetics The layout of plants, their colors, and signage create a visual setting that enhances the community center’s appearance.
Educational Aspect The garden educates students and visitors on the importance of pollinators and native plants to the environment.
Safety & Placement Plants must not be too large at their base so children and adults can run freely through the field. The placement of plants also should not impede movement through the area.
Reproducibility The fields can be mowed which will allow the flowers to self-seed themselves. The process is well documented in clear language so that other people can implement a similar project in their own community.
Usability Ability for plants to grow effectively while also allowing recreational activity to occur.
Functionality Effectively supports pollinators at the Jefferson Community Center, while reseeding all species and creating an area for field related recreational activities.
Cost Must not exceed budget while being able to purchase majority of seeds needed.

Literature Review (Zotovich)[edit]

This is a review of the available literature pertinent to the specific project.

Native Pollinating Plant Species[edit]

A large majority of flowering plants are dependent on pollinator species, whether they be insect or avian. Pollination is an ecosystem process that has evolved over millions of years to benefit both flowering plants and pollinators. Pollinators visit flowers for many reasons, including feeding, pollen collection, and warmth. [1] Flowering plants that produce seeds are among the planets most successful life forms and they are the principal providers of nutrients and resources to most other organisms.[2]

Concerns Regarding Native Pollinating Plant Species[edit]

Native herbaceous or perennial blooming species dependent on pollination can have the process provided by managed or wild pollinator populations. The honey bee is the most widely used managed pollinator and many crops directly depend on its use. However, it is well known that A. Mellifera (honey bee) workers are inefficient pollinators of some plant species, and alternative managed or wild species may do a better job. [3] Native and invasive plants clearly share pollinator species. There is some evidence that in spite of pollinator sharing, pollinators prefer the native plant species over the invasive species.[4]

Types of Native Pollinator Plant Species by Season[edit]

Every region has its own set of native pollinating plant species. Some more resilient than others, but most have seasonal life spans; this also depends on the climate and precipitation of the region. We break down different plant’s by seasonal flowering and sprouting cycle native to the Humboldt County, Arcata and Eureka areas; sea level. [5]

Late Winter - Early Spring[edit]

  • Hairy Manzanita, Arctostaphylos columbiana (extremely important to native bees & hummingbirds)
  • Beach strawberry, Fragaria chiloensis
  • Wood Strawberry, Fragaria vesca
  • Twinberry, Lonicera involucrata (Can continue flowering through summer)


  • Western Columbine, Aquilegia formosa
  • Pacific Bleeding Heart, Dicentra formosa
  • Bush Monkey Flower, Mimulus aurantiacus (flowers all summer into fall)
  • Currant & Gooseberry, Ribes spp.
  • Fringe Cups, Tellima grandiflora
  • White Inside-Out Flower, Vancouveria hexandra


  • Yarrow, Achillea millefolium (flowers all summer into fall)
  • Clarkia, Clarkia spp.
  • Coast Buckwheat, Eriogonum latifolium
  • California Leopard Lily, Lilium pardalinum
  • Orange Honeysuckle, Lonicera ciliosa
  • Bigleaf Lupine, Lupinus polyphyllus
  • Riverbank Lupine, Lupinus rivularis
  • California Bee Plant, Scrophularia californica
  • Checker Mallow, Sidalcea malviflora (long flowering)


  • California Fuchsia, Epilobium canum
  • Coastal Gumweed, Grindelia stricta (long flowering)
  • California Goldenrod, Solidago velutina ssp. californica (long flowering)

Literature Review[edit]

Native Pollinators

1. Shepherd, Matthew "California Plants for Native Bees" Xenes Society, pg.1-3

Bees are crucial to our local ecological systems due to their pollination importance. Native bees are North America's most important group of pollinators.

2. Wilson, Bert & Wilson, Celeste "California Native Insect Pollinators", Las Pilitas Nursery, Nov. 18, 2012. Pg 1-2

Butterflies are also great pollinators. Some species include milkweed and brush-footed butterflies. And this link will give in depth detail to specific species and the plants that attract these native pollinators.

3. Mesler, Michael & Ackeman, James "The effectiveness of fungus gnats as pollinators" Dept. of Biology @ Humboldt and Florida State, 1980 pg. 564-567

Peer Reviewed Article upon the effectiveness of Fungus Gnats as pollinators. Fungus gnats can be effective pollinator vectors. Within overall fruit set and potential for cross pollination. This article gives more information upon how useful Fungus Gnats can be within the coastal redwood forests of Northern California.

Literature Review[edit]

Interpretive Signage for Gardens

Interpretive signage can be an effective way to communicate information about a garden and the plants contained in it. Signs should serve a clear purpose, whether it is to establish rules for the garden or to highlight particular features of a plant. (The visual design of signs is important to consider, as they must attract attention without cluttering the garden space. (2) The context of the garden informs the design of the signage. A public garden, though an educational setting, is not a formal classroom and should not be overly didactic or provide too much information. Learning for visitors is self motivated and driven by their own interests. (1)

Benefits and Drawbacks of Signage

There are advantages as well as disadvantages to interpretive signs as an educational tool. One major advantage is that signs can offer specific information by location, enhancing the visitor’s experience of the garden. However, a disadvantage are that they are not interactive, unlike an interpretive guide who can answer visitor questions. Another disadvantage is that they can fall into disrepair if not properly maintained, reducing the visual quality of the garden. Regular maintenance and replacement of damaged signs is necessary. It should be determined before placing signage what the maintenance plan is and who will be responsible. (2)

Types of signage Interpretive signs may be constructed of a variety of materials. Materials could be quite inexpensive, such as paper or cardboard, or more durable, expensive materials such as wood, metal, or enamel. They may also be either temporary or permanent depending on their purpose. Temporary signs are useful if there is a seasonal component to their usage, or if the garden is under development and it is necessary to experiment with different designs. Permanent signs can be used for year-round features of the garden and for features with a general interest that will attract many visitors. (2) Another option is to have a permanent fixture such as a wood post that has a velcro component which can be used to affix temporary laminated signs. (5) Designing interpretive signage


Observation of visitors

Before making the sign, observe visitors to find out who the audience is. What are their interests? This will help with determining the goals of the sign. Concept

Brainstorm many ideas. Choose a subject (topic of the sign), theme (main message to convey) and approach (method for conveying the message). Identify areas to place the sign. Find ways to link sign to subject.

Organize information

Information can be organized in a text hierarchy, moving from higher to lower level. Titles Main ideas Text to explain main ideas Pictures or place to look for additional information Visitors can quickly scan higher levels of text or read lower levels for more detail.


Text should be short and easy to understand Consider level of audience Use active verbs, not passive Make writing personal, engage the reader Testing

Create a draft copy of the sign and observe how visitors respond to it. Look for if people read the sign, if it gets a positive response, and how long they read it for.

Creating the sign

Make a layout out for the sign by cutting and pasting words and images. The theme part of the sign should draw the most attention

Illustrations Can be used to identify subject of the sign, to tell a story, or for decorative purposes (2)


1. Evans, J. L. (May 2005) “Interactive Exhibit Design in Public Gardens: Theory and Practice”, Master’s Thesis, Cornell University

2. Konig,M. (2000) Making your Garden Come Alive! Environmental Interpretation in Botanical Gardens. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 9. SABONET, Pretoria. ISBN: 1-919795-50-2 (Chapter 5-6, Interpretive Signage, Making Interpretive Signs)

3. Nowatschin, E. L. (May 2014) “Educational Food Landscapes Developing Design Guidelines for School Gardens”, Master’s thesis, The University of Guelph


  1. “Native Pollinators”, information on Native Pollinator Species,
  2. America, Committee on the Status of Pollinators in North., National Research. Council, and National Academies Press. Status of Pollinators in North America. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2007.
  3. Frier, Somers, and Sheffield. "Comparing the Performance of Native and Managed Pollinators of Haskap (Lonicera Caerulea: Caprifoliaceae), an Emerging Fruit Crop." Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 219 (2016): 42-48
  4. Reid, Autumn Leigh. Morphometric Influence on Pollinator Sharing between Native and Invasive Plant Species along the North Spit of Humboldt Bay, California. 2010.
  5. This is an example of a named reference. You can use these named references to repeat citation content throughout the document.