By Ukee Washington

WILMINGTON, Del. (CBS) — During Earth Week, a garden project in Wilmington is just getting started, and it will grow all year. At the Route 9 Library and Innovation Center, Sarah Bouboulis is planting a better future for birds, bees and more.

“We need to do whatever we can to get more food and habitat out there for them,” Bouboulis said. “And then humans. Obviously, we like nature too.”

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The Partnership for The Delaware Estuary Inc. and volunteers are hard at work planting three gardens, with a total of 30 species of plants native to Delaware.

Many of the plants are pollinators, to attract bees, which are critical for successful fruit and vegetable agriculture. Experts estimate bees pollinate one in three bites of food we eat, but their numbers are in steep decline.

“Insects, birds, mammals are losing habitat at an alarming rate,” Bouboulis said.

COVID-19 put this planting project on hold last spring, but this year, they could finally dig in.

Julie Petrowsky, who works as a public works inspector, was eager to volunteer.

“I love getting my hands dirty,” Petrowsky said. “I love getting in there. Something about growing things kind of brings you joy.”

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The gardens will be easy for visitors to explore.

“It’s a place for them to come and relax and enjoy,” Route 9 Library and Innovation Center President Lee Jarmon said, “and even get ideas on how to plant and carry those ideas back to their community.”

Some of the plants are even edible.

“Blueberries ginger bee balm, which can be used to make tea,” Bouboulis said.

As the nation marks Earth Week, encouraging native gardening is a small but tangible way to make a difference.

“When you feel like you can’t do anything, the one thing you can do is plant these plants in your own backyard,” Bouboulis said.

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If you want to get in touch with the Partnership for The Delaware Estuary, click here.

Ukee Washington