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Tripp J. Williams
County Extension Coordinator
University of Georgia

Williams, T.J.*1,
1 County Extension Coordinator, University of Georgia, Appling, GA, 30802

Riverwood Plantation is a large community consisting of 3,000 acres and 1,500 homes that highlights nature, family, and a strong sense of community. In May of 2019, the Riverwood Home Owners Association, Georgia Power, and Columbia County Extension approved the Pollinator Garden project and began clearing the proposed site of Bahiagrass, brambles, and saplings. The 4,500 square foot space was an underutilized right of way located between residential developments and adjacent to Greenbrier elementary, middle, and high schools. Locating the garden centrally in the community was key to successful educational efforts on the importance of pollinators, beneficial insects, and proper plant selection. Once cleared, the garden began to take shape as Master Gardener Extension Volunteers added donated plants from local business and grant funding. The garden has become a hands-on outdoor classroom that engages its local population, challenges visitors to develop a better understanding of pollinators and instills a strong sense of community pride. The impact to the community can be measured by its involvement in the garden. The garden serves as a Great Georgia Pollinator Census site and a Certified Monarch Watch Waystation. Each year between 3 and 5 educational programs on pollinator conservation are held with an average of 38 attendees annually. Additionally, the garden has received over $12,000.00 in in-kind donations from local businesses and homeowners and has received over $32,000 in support from the Riverwood Home Owners Association. The UGA Extension office and the Master Gardener Extension Volunteers all take pride in the Riverwood pollinator garden by being dedicated to the ever-changing opportunities that are presented to us daily.