“Oldsmobile Museum” Pollinator Garden

At their District Conference, Rotarians from southwest Michigan USA partnered with several organizations to create a pollinator garden in an urban environment.

Bringing pollinators back to the city.

This was a 7th Area of Focus project conceived and completed by Rotary District 6360 (members from multiple clubs) during their District Conference.


In the upper Midwest USA, during the frigid winter of 2022, southwest Michigan District Governor Rita LaMoreaux and her Board decided they wanted to plant a pollinator garden as a service project during their District 6380 Conference in the warmer month of May.  Fortunately for District 6360, DG Rita had two Operation Pollination Ambassadors to turn to for help: Past President Georgiana “George” Gormley from the Harbor Country Club and Michelle Skedgell from the Hastings Club.  With “we’d like a pollinator garden” as their marching orders, these two dedicated Rotarians set out to “get the job done.”  But first, where should it be located?

Since their District Conference in 2022 was in the middle of the urban environment of Lansing, Michigan, George turned to the organization called MotorCities National Heritage Area for help, “Would you like to partner with Rotary at one of your partner sites in Lansing?”  MotorCities Programs and Projects Manager Brian Yopp replied, “Perhaps the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum in Lansing might like a pollinator garden?”  After posing this idea to the Museum’s Director, Scott Mdreza, turns out they’d welcome a pollinator garden to enhance their Museum’s outdoor space.  Under the guiding principle of one step at a time, their next thought was, “Now what?  Where do we begin planning and planting a pollinator garden?”

After unsuccessfully trying to interest the local college’s outreach program to help with her District’s pollinator garden project, George turned to fellow Operation Pollination Ambassador Michelle Skedgell for advice.  Since Michelle’s “day job” is managing the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute (a nature center) in Hastings, Michigan, Michelle was able to pull together the planning, as well as the plants, needed for a successful pollinator garden.  After a visit to the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum’s available outdoor space, a location at the Museum was selected and Michelle asked one of her staff – a Master Gardener – to help design the pollinator garden.  With plants grown at her nature center, Michelle was also able to provide appropriate pollinator plants for Rotary’s Lansing pollinator garden project

On a warm Friday afternoon in May (the 20th), District 6360 Governor Rita LaMoreaux assembled her Rotary troops for the planting exercise.  The site had already been lovingly prepared by George and Michelle for the big “planting day.”  DG Rita met District volunteers at the site, relayed the game plan, and they got to work.  Some Rotarians dug holes, some planted plants, some kept things semi-organized, and they all had fun.  The end result was a needed urban pollinator garden where none had existed before.

Today, insect pollinators have a Rotary-inspired and created way station in Lansing, Michigan to provide them nectar in their daily travels.  Since May, the garden has been lovingly tended to by George and others.  Scott, the director from the Museum, reports that his visitors are enjoying it.  Bikers and walkers along a nearby river trail are stopping to admire the plants.  But most importantly, insect pollinators have found it to help sustain them.