Wetland in a Box
Native Plant Restoration And “Wetland-in-a-Box”
Liberty Park, an epicenter of activity in the summer, is also home to Parks and Public Lands’ Native Plant Restoration Project. In the Liberty Park Greenhouse lay hundreds of “Wetland-in-a-Box” native plant kits, grown from manually harvested seeds throughout the region, and tended to until they’re ready to plant in targeted restoration sites. These two-feet-by-three-feet boxes create a unique and balanced micro-ecological habitat of native plant species.
Each box of carefully curated native species replicates climax wetland communities that were historically common throughout our region before it became permanently inhabited. Each plant within the box is propagated from plant materials sourced from remnant wetland habitats throughout the State of Utah. It’s essentially a biological microcosm of what the first settlers saw when they arrived to the Salt Lake valley.
City Sites for Native Plant Restoration
Under the direction of Blake Wellard and James Young, the greenhouse botanists, these native plant boxes have contributed to the wetland restoration of Fairmont Pond, Fife Wetlands and Liberty Lake. The reintroduction of native species builds ecological resilience and prevents species loss — two critical aspects of our ecological health as our climate changes and our population increases. These boxes act as a small community of plants that support each other and maintain species that are at risk of extinction, making the places where these native vegetation kits are planted biodiversity hotspots that foster a more healthy ecological environment.
We are already seeing the positive effects of the Native Plant Restoration Project. Birds, pollinators (like the monarch butterfly), invertebrates, and other forms of wildlife are already coming back to these restored areas. Early wins to be sure, but the long-lasting positive impact the Native Plant Restoration Project will make on ecological diversity, environmental resilience, and our native habitat’s wellbeing is the goal we remain passionately focused on. Indeed, as much as these “Wetland-in-a-Box” restoration kits are a window to the past, they are also an essential key to our biodiversity and sustainability for the future.
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