The new Crete Public Library received a large, native garden installation thanks to Zoe Kraus, a Girl Scout and resident of Crete, NE. Zoe teamed up with Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center’s Plants for Birds team, Jason St. Sauver and Cacey Wilken, to make her Gold Star Project impactful and relevant to her community. The National Audubon Society’s Plants for Birds program advocates for the use of native plants to provide important resources for birds and create beautiful spaces that benefit the environment.
Zoe’s planting took place on April 24th, 2020 with the help of some of her troop and family members. She said, “My favorite part of this project was the planting day. I really liked getting to lay out how the garden would look and seeing my project come together.” The installation totaled 168 plants graciously donated by the Garden Club of Lincoln; out of those, 160 are species native to the Midwest or the tallgrass prairie that historically covered eastern Nebraska. Some of these plants include primrose, blue phlox, asters, beebalm, and coneflowers. Kay Kottas of Prairie Legacy Inc. was instrumental in the plant selection and design process.
After spending months working on this project, Zoe commented, “I learned about the properties of different native plants in the process of planning out my garden. Also, I learned about salt-tolerant plants. My garden borders the road, so I tried to use some salt-tolerant plants.” She would like others to consider planting native gardens because “[they] are great because they require less upkeep and provide food and shelter for insects and birds!”