A beautiful native garden in front of the Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities now serves as an example of how plants can benefit birds, pollinators, and the community alike. On June 2, 2018, 75 Habitat Hero volunteers helped plant the garden, which features native plants like prairie smoke that provide nectar, seeds, and insects for birds. Other partners involved with the project include Cheyenne High Plains Audubon Society, Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities, Laramie Master Gardeners, and the National Wildlife Federation. On May 20, 2019, these groups came together for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the garden’s completion and recognize its importance.
Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr read a proclamation for the garden and emphasized its importance for Cheyenne. “It brings to light the importance of water conservation…and the importance of conserving our habitat and natural resources,” said Orr.
Deena Egenhoff—water conservation specialist for Cheyenne Board of Utilities—said that it is essential that the city find effective ways to conserve water. “A lot of native plants are designed for this particular area,” said Egenhoff. “When you only get about 15 inches of precipitation on an annual basis in Cheyenne, you can only plant plants that need 15 inches or less of precipitation to survive.”
Long-time Audubon member and Master Gardener Mark Gorges echoed this sentiment. “The West is not well-endowed with water, and any place that is going to save water will help us,” said Gorges.
John Edwards is a board member for Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities and said that he wanted to show the community how they can not only beautify their yards, but also help the city save water. “We wanted to create an example, to show the community things that they can do to not only beautify their yards but also help the city save water,” said Edwards. Barb Gorges—president of the Cheyenne High Plains Audubon Society—pointed out the garden’s strategic location. “It’s a demonstration garden right where people come to pay their water bill, and that connection is made right there,” she said.
Habitat Hero is an Audubon Rockies program that helps communities plant native gardens. These gardens don’t just conserve water; they also improve habitat for birds and quality of life for people. “The Habitat Hero program brings everyone together. It’s not just an ideal place for birds and pollinators to thrive, but it really brings the community together,” said Jamie Weiss, Habitat Hero Coordinator.