***If you’re interested in donating to this or other pollinator habitat projects at Interstate State Park, please continue reading about our project and instructions for donating.

It’s Pollinator Week and we thought you’d love to hear about our new Friends’ of Interstate and Straight Lake Parks project – turning the grass medians along the road into our WI-side Interstate Park. Several folks on our Friends’ group board are passionate about native plants and when we heard that the ash trees were being cut down due to the spreading emerald ash borer infestation, we suggested turning them into pollinator prairie pockets – and we’d be their “pocket protectors”! Through partnership with Wild Rivers Conservancy and Alex Bouthilet, we began our process by gaining access to native seeds that have been hand-collected locally as well as access to their expertise on all things prairie restoration.


First, we prepped the areas in varying ways – a bit of a working research project on what seems to work best for this area going forward in coming years. Then we broadcast pounds of diverse native plant seed by hand.



Lastly, we planted nearly 300 plugs or semi-mature plants, and flagged them for reference in case anyone weed-whips or watering is needed. Some of the more mature plants were donated by Nancy Graden of local Red Clover Apothecary Farm as well. Signage to help visitors understand respect what we’re up to will be added soon. Now, patience.



What to expect ahead: We’ll do what we can to cut back the cold weather grasses so their seed isn’t viable to reproduce and compete with the flowers and native grasses/sedges we’ve installed. We’ll learn about seed collection and collect seed at the appropriate time. And, in turn, broadcast it. Over winter we might see birds perched on seed heads, though we’ll be looking inward to putting together programming help visitor understand the prairie ecosystem, pollinators and/or how they might do something similar in their own backyard. Additional work looking for funding through grants and donations will also be underway, so programming, signage, and additional planted areas can be established around the park. If you’d like to donate to our pollinator project(s), please note that in the memo of your check or donation through programs like GiveBig that happen annually, by mailing in directly at the address below, or in person at our Ice Age Interpretive Center Gift Shop (we use Square for purchases/donations).

Friends of Interstate Park
P O Box 703
St. Croix Falls, WI 54024