By Jack Chavez, Staff Writer
Berlin’s celebration of National Pollinator Week is right around the corner and this year, the town is completing a project that will raise awareness and educate children about the importance of bees, year-round.
Late last month, Artist Jessica Hall, owner of Happy Now Creations, began working on “Pollinator Way,” an extensive sidewalk mural between Gilbert’s Provisions and Island Creamery, that starts adjacent to Main Street and follows the narrow alleyway between the business to the back parking lot.
Children and curious individuals, if approaching from Main Street, will encounter a brightly colored “Welcome to Pollinator Way” and follow the mural along to spots that encourage them to buzz like bees, swirl like the wind and “flap their wings” like a butterfly, Hall said.
As of Monday, Hall was roughly halfway down the alleyway.
“It’s teaching kids through a little activity about pollinators,” she said.
Hall said the concept drew her into the project.
She described the work she produces as “bubbly, happy stuff” and believes that is what attracted town officials to her business.
“Just the concept, because when Ivy Wells brought it up to me, she was like ‘I think your work is very much what we wanted,’” Hall said. “So, Pollinator Way, it’s going to be an activity for kids all the way down.”
The town originally approached Hall about the project in June 2021 and it was approved later that year.
Hall said she hopes to have the project done by the end of the month, though National Pollinator Week runs from June 20 -26, and she may not have it completed in time for this year’s event.
Cold, wet weather forced her to push back her goal of starting in March or April.
“I started later than I wanted to because it was a very rainy season. But I’ve been moving so far,” Hall said. “The past two weeks have been nice — maybe a day off in between days for rain.
“You can’t put paint down if the temperature drops … drop below 50 degrees, otherwise weird things happen. It was a cooler spring a little later and then it started to rain nonstop. But eventually, I got to start,” she added.
Hall also said this is by far the largest project she’s worked on.
As far as a personal interest, Hall said that she doesn’t have a green thumb, but her gardening husband does.
Once she started looking into the project, both of their interests began to rise.
“In general, pollinators, we need more of them,” Hall said. “Bees are dying. I know my husband was having issues with pollination last year. So we’ve had to create some things to better suit (his gardening).”
Information will be available on planting pollinator gardens during Pollinator Week. There will also be a free pollinator seed packet giveaway at Berlin town hall from June 20-24.
At the Berlin Commons on June 24 from 4-6 p.m., there will be an event featuring honey tasting, pollinator garden information, Jun Kombucha tasting, and mead made from local honey.
Meanwhile, the second annual Pollinator Garden Tour will take place June 24-25. The self-guided tour covers nine “pollinator-friendly” gardens across Maryland’s lower eastern shore, according to a press release from Lower Shore Land Trust.
For more information, visit https://lowershorelandtrust.org.
For more information about Hall and Happy Now Creations, visit her Instagram @happynowcreations.
This story appears in the print version of the Bayside Gazette on June 16, 2022.