David Dorsey and Scotty Sneed of the City of Somerset Parks and Recreation Department, along with Lake Cumberland Master Gardeners Marc Carter, Heather Brunk and Melanie Lawless, recently hosted students of the Somerset Independent Schools' "After School program", (Mrs. Diane, Director). Students learned about the importance of native plants, and planted the Kentucky native Orange Coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida). The students also learned that the beautiful Orange Coneflower is an important source of nectar for pollinators, and supports the reproduction of dozens of species of native moths and butterflies. This Fall, the children will help the City by planting a butterfly/pollinator garden, funded by a grant from the Garden Club of America.

Earlier this month, the Master Gardeners hosted youth from Mrs. Stephanie Likins' "Upward Bound" class. These students weeded and improved the garden space planted by the Somerset After School program, as well as the Children's Garden at the Pulaski County Public Library. The students were taught about the need for biodiversity in our landscapes, and the importance of growing native plants.

The Lake Cumberland Master Gardeners promote the use of native plants in gardens and landscaping. Native plants have co-evolved with native insects and wildlife, and both are deeply dependent upon one another. Native plants provide food and shelter to Insects, birds, and other small animals, which in turn support larger predators. Native plants are building blocks, fundamental stepping stones of a healthy eco-system. They are adapted to local climate and require no fertilizer, pesticides, or herbicides. If placed in favorable conditions, native plants don't require watering. Also, native plants offer a landscape that is unique and perfectly suited to our region.

For more information on Parks and Recreation activities, contact: David Dorsey or Scotty Sneed at 606-679-1860

For more information about native plants contact: Beth Wilson at the Pulaski County extension office at bgwilson@email.uky.edu