We had a wonderful year in 2019. Everyday I continue to be inspired by the power of nature to transform us as people and how important it is for us to be good stewards for the environments in which we live. I'm excited to share with you some highlights from 2019 and some exciting new things to come in 2020.
WPNR 2019 By the Numbers
Numbers only paint part of the picture of the great works being done at WPNR. Our success within the community and beyond stems from diverse and creative programming like Tiny Wonder Time for Pre-K, Summer Camps, and Adult Maker Monday’s; strong relationships with national and regional organizations, schools, and families for major events like the Earth Day “Party for the Planet” which drew over 800 people and the 3rd Annual Butterfly Release that had over 1,500 people flock to experience this majestic sight; integration into the academics of higher education and the community of Saint Vincent College with research projects such as studying Phytoremediation of Organic Chlorine Pesticide Contaminated Soils; and accessible and affordable programs and recreation space like Environmental Explorers and Early Childhood Nature Educator Workshop series which is offered to educators for free.
Beyond programming and events, WPNR was involved with some high-profile research projects. In 2019, WPNR conducted a Baker Creek Heirloom Seed trial where 29 different varieties were planted from vegetables, flowers, and herbs. WPNR was tasked with providing specific regional information like yield, size, anomalies that may occur in order to provide growing data to farmers and home growers across the United States and Canada. WPNR will keep the seeds to add to the WPNR Seed Bank. Partnering with Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is a big deal. The company has grown to offer nearly 2,000 varieties of vegetables, flowers, and herbs—the largest selection of heirloom varieties in the USA. “It’s really exciting to be honored with performing a trial with Baker Creek Heirloom Seed,” said Jennifer Eppolito, Educational Horticulturist at WPNR. “This trial added to our seed bank and enabled us to teach the public about growing an heirloom garden and creating healthy foods for their families right from their very own backyard.”
WPNR is particularly proud to participate in the Experimental Farm Network, a 501c3 that facilitates collaborative plant breeding and sustainable agriculture research in order to fight global climate change, preserve the natural environment, and ensure food security for humanity into the distant future by combining efforts of researchers and volunteers.WPNR was tasked to grow Yamberry Yields , which are a perennial vine, over 5 years wherein the 3rd, 4th, and 5th years we will weigh the yield to determine if the crop is a viable option to feed communities where there is food instability. “We’re so inspired by this particular project because it encompasses healthy food, national research, and has a direct impact on people that need it most,” said Ms. Eppolito. “It enables individuals to be less dependent on other countries for food that we can grow here. What can be easily grown, inexpensive, and living off your own land - it’s an empowering project for any person, neighborhood, or community.”
We have big plans for 2020 with further expansion of Honeybee and Native Pollinator Research partnering with SVC entomologist, Dr. Michelle Duennes, Citizen Science Programming, development of Historic Lochry Blockhouse Exhibit Space and Programming, and so much more.
We hope you join us in our goal and dedication to inspiring your neighborhood and community to GET OUTSIDE and BE WELL WITH NATURE.
Executive Director, Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve
The Walzer Way Blog is maintained by WPNR staff with contributions from Saint Vincent College students and staff, volunteers, community members, and more. If you are interested in contributing to The Walzer Way Blog, contact the Learning Barn.