Work on Firefly Park continues with pollinator project

Located in the heart of Nibley is a plot of undeveloped wetland, filled with native plants growing free and wild. It’s a site that isn’t uncommon throughout Cache Valley, but unlike other similar spaces, this one is guaranteed to stay.

“We are really excited to share the really great local attributes that this preserved wetland holds and all the great things we can learn from having even this small acreage area set aside for future generations,” said Patrick Kelly, the director of education at Stokes Nature Center.

Opened earlier this summer, Firefly Park is the result of years of work by city officials and local conservationists. The project began to ensure a rare colony of local fireflies would be protected, hence the park’s name, and grew into the larger vision of a nature park that includes a playground for children and a walking path that winds through tall wetland plants.

This weekend a butterfly-shaped pollinator garden will be dedicated as city officials and community members continue the work of developing a space that both preserves nature and encourages recreation.

“We want to preserve them (green spaces) in a way that provides not just the open space but provides also an opportunity for people to recreate and an opportunity for people to learn,” said David Zook, Nibley’s city manager.

The garden will include only plants that can provide nectar for pollinating insects and birds, including hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. Although some of the plants have already been planted, during a dedicatory ceremony for the garden on Saturday, members of the public can help plant the remaining ones.

Becky Yeager, a member of the Cache Valley Wildlife Association, has been working on the project and said this activity will help community members feel more connected to the park.

As the population grows in Cache Valley and development increases, loss of open space is a concern for both community leaders and residents. Kelly said he applauds Nibley’s efforts to obtain and preserve the area of land that is now Firefly Park.

“They were very, very mindful and patient and very goal-oriented in terms of creating that space that is going to serve its people and be very multi-use in terms of creating space for nature and recreation,” Kelly said.

When it comes to preserving space as cities grow, Zook recommends considering spaces that have unique qualities.

“If there is an area of the city that has wetlands or a wildlife corridor or that is part of an important habitat for wildlife, those are the types of areas that should be preserved,” Zook said.

The dedicatory ceremony for the pollinator park will be 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. Attendees are invited to help add plants to the garden as well as participate in a free plant exchanged hosted by the Cache Valley Wildlife Association.

Firefly Park is located at 2370 S. 1000 West, Nibley, next to Virgil Gibbons Heritage Park.