Two free, public pollinator workshops offered

The Jennings County Soil and Water Conservation District has won national, state and regional awards and recognition for its efforts to preserve pollinating insect habitats in the area.

Now, the district would like to include more residents in the efforts by offering two free, identical workshops on how to plant a pollinator garden.

One will be offered from 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 18, the other from 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 20, and both at the Jennings County Public Library, 2375 State Road 3 North, North Vernon.

“What we are looking at is an easy, step-by step process of how to plant a pollinator garden from start to finish,” said Kelly Kent, an administrative assistant with the district.

Both classes will include a session on how to get started planting a garden by preparing the soil. Rick Winegarden, a longtime volunteer with the pollinator project, will lead the session.

Wildlife biology expert Zach Voyles will show easy ways to maintain a pollinator garden. Ivy Tech instructor Kirsten Carlson will explain how to select the best plants to attract the most types of pollinators one would like to have visit their garden.

“This is not just about backyard gardens that attract pollinators, and I think Kirsten Carlson will make that very clear with her presentation. The efforts to preserve pollinators to help our own food source are also proving to be very beneficial to other species. Researchers have found pollinator gardens have also been very instrumental in saving several bird species that have been in decline,” said Andy Ertel, director of the Jennings County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Each workshop will be a relaxed learning environment, with good information and time for questions and fun, Kent said.

“And, while this is going to be geared for the person who has never planted a garden, there will also be room for the more experienced gardener,” Kent added.

Some issues that will be discussed for the more experienced gardener, Kent said, will include:

How to have a pollinator garden that is well-manicured but also has a natural-habitat look

How to maintain various kinds of pollinator gardens in a large space

How to plant container gardens for use in small spaces

Though the workshops are free, pre-registration is requested.

To register for the class, call 812-346-3411, ext. 3, or send an email to