2021-22 Rotary District Grant Project, lead Arden Hills-Shoreview Rotary Club.
Shoreview Press -  By Preeti Mathur/Contributing Writer -
The city’s first pollinator rain garden has been planted. Located at McCullough Park, the garden is a cooperative effort between Arden Hills-Shoreview Rotary Club, partnering with the Shoreview Parks and Recreation and Public Works Department and the Rice Creek Watershed District.

A crew of 27 volunteers from the Arden Hills-Shoreview Rotary Club and Shoreview Garden Club, along with Shoreview’s natural resources team, worked in two shifts to plant over 400 plants.

The 2,000 square foot garden, designed by Brian Olsen, urban planner for Ramsey County, includes a variety of native Minnesota plants, well suited to attract pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and moths, as well as to filter the runoff water from the parking lot.

Charlie Oltman, President, Arden Hills-Shoreview Rotary Club, led the project with help from past President Mike Spellman and community service committee member, Kent Peterson. They applied for grants and a total of $11,664 was collected which included a $6,114 grant from the Shoreview Community Foundation and $2,550 from a Rotary District Grant. The Arden-Hills-Shoreview Rotary Club contributed $3,000.

Since the Rotary regularly helps with McCollough Park’s clean-up and maintenance, it was the ideal location for the pollinator garden.

The project meets Rotary International’s goals of supporting the environment through the operation pollination initiative. This initiative which is one of Rotary’s six focus areas is led by the Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group. The group provides support to Rotary clubs and other partners all over the country and world with pollinator habitat restoration and education.

The idea for the pollinator garden was sparked by a talk given to the Arden-Hills-Shoreview Rotary Club by Chris Stein, a locally-based park ranger with the National Park Service and a Rotarian himself with a leadership role in Rotary’s pollination projects.

On planting day, Stein stopped by to see the garden and was impressed with the way the project was developed and implemented. “This would serve as a great showcase to encourage other such projects in the city,” he remarked.

Other visitors who stopped by to see the garden’s progress, included Shoreview Mayor, Sandy Martin. Martin who has been involved with the Shoreview Community Foundation since its inception has seen its growth over the years from giving grants of a few thousand dollars to over a million dollars.

“I love this project,” Martin said. “It is exactly the sort of project I envisioned for the parks & recreation Fund. I like it because it is volunteer-driven and because it goes beyond what a city would normally be able to do.”

Another visitor, Sue Denkinger, Shoreview City Council member and mayoral candidate said, “The rain and pollinator garden represents the best of the Shoreview community where an idea literally bloomed into a beautiful garden through the collaboration of volunteers, community organizations, and local government groups. This project worked because they all worked together to make it happen.”

Other visitors from the City of Shoreview include – City Manager Brad Martens, Parks Supervisor Ronnie Schreifels, Parks and Recreation Director Steve Benoit and Communications Specialist Josie Hayes.