Monday, June 17, 2024

Honolulu Zoo gains ‘bee-friendly’ herb garden

Volunteers, including Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi and city council member Calvin Say, helped plant a herb garden for pollinators.
Mayor Blangiardi, Councilmember Calvin Say, Honolulu Zoo Director Linda Santos and City volunteers pose for a photo before Saturday’s community service work day.

Approximately 70 City and County of Honolulu employees from more than a dozen departments, including Mayor Rick Blangiardi and Councilmember Calvin Say, volunteered at the Honolulu Zoo on Saturday to assist with beautification efforts and the transformation of an old exhibit area into a bee-friendly citrus garden. 

The Honolulu Zoo partnered with the non-profit organization Bizgenics and their Project Lemon Tree initiative, which provided 20 citrus trees, including Meyer and Lisbon lemons, Tahitian and Yuzu limes, kumquats, calamansi, grapefruits, oranges, tangerines and jabongs. Bizgenics also helped to design the garden.

“As the Honolulu Zoo is also a botanical garden, a lot of what is grown on-site accentuates tropical and native flora and edible plants to help supplement a healthy animal diet and population,” said Linda Santos, Honolulu Zoo Director. “Being a year-round, open-air zoo, we have the ability to grow our own grass, fruits, vegetables and trees to use as browse to feed our mammals, reptiles and birds fresh produce daily.”  

Flowering shrubs and a bee-friendly herb farm were planted amongst the citrus trees in the Bee Friendly Garden, which is located near the primate islands.

“Citrus trees are a considered a top sequester of CO2, which helps our environment and supports healthy habitats. The zoo’s homemade compost provides the perfect medium for healthy trees and herbs,” said Steve Sue, Bizgenics Board Chair. “To date, our Project Lemon Tree has planted more than 200 lemon trees in 48 school campuses throughout the state, and we look forward toworking with the Honolulu Zoo on future lemon tree projects.”

In other areas of the zoo, volunteers also planted shrubs along a walkway fronting some of the bird exhibits, loaded compost into buckets to be used during planting and swept up leaves near the zoo’s stage area.

“We are very fortunate to have a generous partner in Bizgenics and really appreciate Mayor Blagiardi, Councilmember Calvin Say and the City `ohana for spending their personal time to beautify and plant more than 50 trees and shrubs throughout areas of the Honolulu Zoo. We also appreciate the generosity of our concessionaire, the SSA Group, as well as Meadow Gold Dairies, who provided refreshments for all of our volunteers,” Santos added.

Planting Plan:

Photos and video courtesy Ian Scheuring, additional photos courtesy Steve Sue.

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