Recently, on a cool morning in Elizabethton, the staff of Sycamore Shoals came together to broadcast the seed of native wildflowers and grasses over a ½ acre of land at Sabine Hill State Historic Site. Considering the historic nature of the site, everyone arrived in historic attire to accomplish the task at hand! With National Pollinator Week quickly approaching on June 22nd, this was the perfect time to get the seed in the ground and begin our work in creating new habitat for pollinators in Tennessee.
The funding for the project was provided through a partnership between the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Pollinator Habitat Program, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and the Tennessee State Park’s Honey Project, with a goal to promote pollinator and environmental health in parks and across the state. Along with this goal are opportunities for interpretive programming that will teach about the importance of pollinators, the need to protect habitat, types of pollinators, and what we can all do to protect these many species.
We often think of colonial honeybees as being pollinators, but there are many more. In Tennessee there are approximately 400 species of solitary bees that do not live in colonies. They are tiny and can nest underground or in hollow stems. In addition to bees; birds, butterflies, bats, and beetles all do their part in pollinating our native plants. In turn, these beautiful meadows provide shelter, egg nurseries, food, and rest for pollinators.
Sabine Hill State Historic Site, managed by the Tennessee Historical Commission and Tennessee State Parks, will be open for tours this summer each Wednesday through Sunday. You can search for a date and register for a tour by visiting www.tnstateparks.com/parks/sycamore-shoals
Please also visit Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park’s Butterfly Garden near Patriot’s Path walking trail by the Watauga River. Cared for by the East Tennessee Master Gardeners, this site is also a North American Butterfly Association Monarch Waystation. Within easy access of the parking area in front of the Visitors Center, you will find a Tennessee Urban Forestry certified Arboretum with a wide variety of signed, native trees.
For additional information, please contact:
Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park
1651 W. Elk Avenue Elizabethton, Tennessee 37643