This area along the MoPac Trail in Springfield behind Wild Willy’s Fireworks and Ace Hardware will become a pollinator garden thanks to a grant the city received from the Nebraska Environmental Trust and the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum.

Springfield is one of seven communities in Nebraska to receive a Greener Towns Grant.

The grant awards Springfield $1,362.90, with the city having to provide an additional $1,224.62, plus $500 worth of volunteer and city staff time. The fund for the matching portion will be provided by the Keno Community Betterment Fund.

The grant will go toward creating a pollinator garden in the Springfield Creek trails and recreation area between the two trail bridges and will cover a quarter of an acre.

The larger park area surrounding the pollinator garden is filled with native grasses that encourage birds, butterflies and other wildlife to visit.

Assistant City Clerk Andie Ledenbach said although there is not much in that location now, the city has a rendering for what they want the creek to look like.

“We have an idea about where we want to put certain plants to attract wildlife and how to modify the area to keep the animals there,“ Ledenbach said. “We don’t want the animals to just visit that area and leave, we want them to stay and live there, too.”

She said there will be different parts of the creek area modified to be suited for a variety of wildlife.

The pollination garden itself won’t be conducive to walking and won’t have trails directly leading into it to preserve the area for the animals.

Ledenbach has said she has seen raccoons and other animals in the tall grass already.

The pollinator garden will serve as another food source and habitat with flowers that might attract butterflies, bees and several other pollinators.

The creek trail will serve as a way to educate the community about the particular plants and animals within the area.

The Greener Towns program is coordinated by the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum and funded by the Nebraska Environmental Trust, a beneficiary of the Nebraska Lottery.

This is the first time Springfield has applied for a Greener Towns grant in addition to receiving several tree grants over the years.

Ledenbach said the city is already looking into working further with the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum to see what other nature oriented programs they have to offer.

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