SWARM continues to combat pollinator decline in the region

SWARM continues to combat pollinator decline in the region

Swarm members and Tuscarawas Central Catholic Elementary staff underwent a two-week training course to become eligible for grant funding that could turn the grassy hillside pictured behind into a pollinator habitat, land lab and sensory garden.


The mission of the Sustainable Wildlife Area Restoration Movement is to combat pollinator decline by re-establishing native habitats, raising awareness and providing education on pollinator conservation.

Rome Marinelli of SWARM said, “We are very fortunate to have support from many locals again this year, and 2020 is going to be an incredible year for us.”

Pollinator Palooza, the nonprofit organization’s biggest event, coincides with National Pollinator Week. Pollinator Palooza is scheduled for Saturday, June 27. Still in the planning stages, the event will include a native plant sale, conservation partners providing education and/or take-home crafts for kids, a butterfly exhibit, food and more.

“Currently our planning committee is underway putting this event together to ensure it’s an incredible and successful event,” Marinelli said.

Tuscarawas Central Catholic Elementary School and Claymont High School will join the ranks of pollinator partners with SWARM. “We are very honored to be working with these remarkable institutes,” Marinelli said.

Elaine Schindler, a SWARM board member and one of the group’s habitat technicians, has been instrumental in securing a partnership and grant funding for the habitat, land lab and sensory garden for Tuscarawas Central Catholic Elementary School.

TCC Elementary School said they are excited to have this land lab, habitat and sensory garden as to better the education of their students, provide vital habitat and introduce students to the hands-on experiences of conservation.

“It’s incredible to see how many benefits a native habitat on school grounds can have on the connection to STEM components,” Marinelli said. “We are excited to provide this space for students.”

While these school projects are on the SWARM agenda for 2020, Marinelli said they are dependent on available funding.

“We encourage local business leaders who want to show their support for local conservation efforts to make a tax-deductible donation to SWARM for these efforts,” Marinelli said.

Donations can be sent to P.O. Box 341, Dover, OH 44622. Supporters can choose which of the two projects they would like to support by designating that on their check.

SWARM is getting ready for events, programs and fundraisers that will include a spring shrub sale, an Earth Day recycling event in April and another Creature Feature for Endangered Species Day 2020, which falls on May 15. More details on these events will follow. Stay up to date with everything that’s happening via the group’s social-media page at www.facebook.com/SWARMtogether.

A friends of SWARM group dubbed Friendzy was launched. This is a free group that meets from 7-8 p.m. on the second Monday of every other month at the Tuscarawas County Public Library conference room B. The next meeting dates for Friendzy will be April 13 and June 8.

In April the group will explore and discuss Citizen Science projects, projects that are easy to do and an effective way to contribute to scientific research across the globe. These easy and practical projects range from monarch monitoring and sunflower blooms, to weather temperature and times, to bird counts.

“The purpose of Friendzy is to build a network of passionate, local people who want to be more involved in pollinator and habitat conservation efforts, whether that’s in their own backyards or through one of our bigger projects,” Marinelli said. “We hope to reach people who want to help through volunteerism, helping with fundraisers and events, and overall provide technical skills that will better equip local people to become pollinator protectors and habitat heroes.”

Marinelli said SWARM would likely work with the Gnadenhutten Boy Scout troop again this year. “In years past we have focused on invasive-species management at the Gnadenhutten Nature Center in Gnadenhutten,” he said. “These plans are not solidified yet, but we have a great relationship with Chip, the troop leader, who enjoys getting the Scouts involved in local conservation efforts.”

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