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Lansing Garden Club enhances Mildred Burt Nature Center

by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (June 27, 2020) – Before the heat of the day set in on Saturday, June 20, 19 members of the Lansing Garden Club met at the Mildred Burt Nature Center to install seven pollinator gardens around the pond within the wooded area. Work preparing the site had begun already last year, and the group continued this year once COVID restrictions were eased.

After spending June 5 and 6 moving and mixing yards of EQ compost and topsoil, the club spread it into seven mounds that would serve as individual gardens populated with species that attract and support bees, butterflies, birds, beetles, and bats. The compost is a free resource provided by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.

Ray Carrington, Rich Lund, Dana Wood, and Stan Jakubczak help distribute yards of dirt and compost at the Mildred Burt Nature Center on June 6. (Photo: Diane Lund)

Diane Lund leads the Lansing Garden Club, and she worked with Nancy Kreith of the University of Illinois Extension Office to choose native plants and develop the planting schematics. Kreith has a Bachelor degree in Landscape Architecture, and native plants and pollinators are one of her research interests. Lund and Kreith decided on a mix of 231 plants that included Big Bluestem grasses, Purple Milkweed, Showy Goldenrod, and other native species. The selections include plants that will do well in full sun, partial sun, and the wet soil around the pond.

Diane Lund shows the schematics she and Nancy Kreith designed for the pollinator gardens within the Mildred Burt Nature Center. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
From left: Lansing Garden Club members Leeann Byrne, Leigh Ann Fredbloom, Rich Lund, Patrick Baker, Dana Wood, Jamie Maciel, and Rosemarie Nugent pose by one of the pollinator gardens they planted on June 20. (Photo: Diane Lund)

Because of the number of Garden Club members who were available, the work of planting 231 plants went fast. Most people worked for about two hours, and a few stayed longer to water the new gardens.

In the distance, Diane Lund surveys one of the completed gardens. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Patrick Baker takes a break after two hours of shoveling and planting. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

The Lansing Garden Club also plans to install a Chimney Swift Tower on the west side of the Mildred Burt Nature Center. The tower was built in sections by Rich Lund, in the hopes of installing it early enough for the spring arrival of swifts to the area. But with the parks placed under quarantine in March, those plans were delayed, and the tower sections are currently in storage. Diane Lund is hopeful that when the tower is installed this fall, swifts will notice it during their migration to Peru for the winter, and next spring they will find it again and summer there.

Rich Lund built the Chimney Swift Tower in sections in his garage. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma, April 2020)
The Chimney Swift Tower will be installed at the west edge of the Mildred Burt Nature Center. Branches from the overhanging trees will be trimmed to allow access. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

The Mildred Burt Nature Center is located to the north of the Eisenhower Center parking lot. The Eisenhower Center is located at 2550 178th Street in Lansing.

Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma grew up in Lansing, Illinois, and believes The Lansing Journal has an important role to play in building community through trustworthy information.


  1. I had the great privilege to have Mildred Burt as a teacher in both first and fifth grades when I was a student at Eisenhower School. She would love the fact that these gardens were designed to attract pollinators. She loved science and nature, and she was the first teacher we saw wear pants when she took us on a field trip to the Thornton Quarry!
    She would be so honored to be remembered with this garden, so kudos to the Lunds and the members of the Lansing Garden Club for keeping her memory alive for all of us alumni of District #158.

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