Butterflies and Bioretention

???????????????????????????????A muddy garbage-strewn area at a Fitchburg Housing Authority site has been transformed into a beautiful butterfly garden that provides habitat for butterflies and other pollinators as well as environmental learning opportunities for children.

What was the problem?  During rain events, water flowing from a nearby hillside could not percolate through the soil and pooled in a flat area below resulting in an unsightly wet area.  With the help of Fitchburg DPW, a trench was dug and crushed stone and a perforated pipe was laid.   After filling in the trench, 1,000 sq. ft of soil was removed from the top 18 inches around the area and a sandy loam was added.  This final layer was graded with a slight bowl shape to aid in ????????????????????water retention.  The very next day after completion, a heavy rain left no puddle!  To get ready to plant the garden, this loam layer was overlaid with a permeable weed barrier and a stone pathway was created.  Then, with the help of neighborhood residents, community volunteers and a work crew from the United Way Day of Caring, over 100 colorful butterfly-attracting plants were planted in the sandy loam area.

MOC Bfly garden plantedThis bioretention area is part of a larger “Big Field” project aimed at transforming a large green space at Green Acres Village, a Fitchburg Housing Authority complex, into a multi-generational active living space. The Big Field project is part of Fun ‘n FITchburg’s efforts to prevent obesity and get people more physically active.

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