Celebrating solar power while protecting pollinators and birds

Bird and Pollinator Friendly Solar Day (KHGI)

The City of Kearney has just declared March 8 Bird and Pollinator Friendly Solar Day.

"We're really excited that Kearney had decided to create this solar array," said Rowe Sanctuary executive director, Bill Taddicken.

This new holiday is recognizing the recently built solar array in Kearney and that the city said it is the largest of its kind in Nebraska.

"Its good for birds for several reasons," said Taddicken. "It's sited really nicely next to other power lines, we don't have to create a bunch of transmission lines that kill birds and solar is really very bird and pollinator friendly especially with the planting that they're doing underneath it."

Organizers said the entire 53–acre site has been landscaped with hundreds of thousands of pollinator and bird friendly native flowers and grasses.

"Pollinators are really declining all across the US so these native plantings like this are extremely important to maintaining these pollinators that really create the food that we all eat," said Taddicken.

To celebrate, there will be a workshop and tour on Thursday, March 8 beginning at 10:30 a.m. with a conversation with city and state leaders about protecting wildlife.

"It'll be a great conversation and a way to talk about the importance of solar and green energy and it's great to have [Mayor] Stan Clouse on board with that," said Taddicken.

The conversation will be followed by lunch and then a hands–on tour.

"We're all going to be going to the solar array to do a planting of the plants," Taddicken. "We got some of the kids from the Kearney Outdoor Learning Area at the new Kearney High School coming out to help us do some plantings and we'll be installing some pollinator nesting boxes and things like that."

Organizers said if 32 thousand homes each had native flower gardens, that still would not be as much habitat as the solar array has created, and they want community members to have a part in this project.

"It'll be a great time and a good chance for everybody to be able to see the progression that Kearney is making and being really progressive in green energy," said Taddicken.

The event is free, but guests are encouraged to pre–register, so the Rowe Sanctuary can ensure they have enough lunches for everyone.

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