Restoration project at Bukolt Park plants more than 2,000 native species

Through grants, the North Central Conservancy Trust is restoring the island to help bring in pollinators
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 9:54 PM CDT
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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) - North Central Conservancy Trust (NCCT) is leading a restoration project at Bukolt Island at Stevens Point by planting more than 2,000 native species on the island to help bring in natural pollinators.

The NCCT bought land north of Bukolt Park in 2019, which included Bukolt Island. In the Wisconsin River, the island has served a variety of purposes, including land for a home. After the land was purchased, plans by the NCCT to restore the island were set into work.

“This is really done to protect that landscape,” said NCCT Executive Director Chris Radford. “We want to protect the ecosystems that are associated with it, make it accessible for the public, and steward it as best we can for the benefit of our native flora and fauna.”

The NCCT applied for and received $5,000 in grant money from the American Transmission Company, which owns the power lines running through the island. The NCCT also received a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. With the money, they began their work to plant natural species on the island, something essential to promoting a healthy environment.

“A native plant community really meshes,” said Bob Freckmann, someone who’s been with the NCTC since it was formed in the 1990′s. “It really works together.”

More than 50 volunteers helped plant the species Friday. For those working on the project, it was moving to see.

”One doesn’t realize how many people in the community have a real interest and really care about things like this,” said Freckmann.

“It’s incredible,” said Radford. “We are appreciative of all the support. I think they’re just interested in protecting our ecosystems. It’s truly altruistic of these people. They get nothing other than knowing they’re doing something to benefit our community and the environment.”

The native species will do a lot to help the land. It’ll hopefully bring in natural pollinators, like bees and butterflies. Through the pollinators, the land will hopefully become self-sustaining and thrive on its own.

“They’re all native. They all belong here,” said Freckmann. “They’re like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. They all belong here and they’re like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, each species fits together with something else.”

In addition to the thriving life on the land, the new plants will also be beneficial for the river by helping prevent erosion and eliminating invasive species. Additionally, the island will have benefits for visitors too. The project will update the trail and make it more accessible for visitors.

“I think the bottom line is it’s a really attractive island that’s going to be something that people notice for years to come,” said Freckmann.

For more information about the North Central Conservancy Trust, visit here.

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