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Offered by: City of Brighton Communications Office

One of the city’s open spaces is getting a new look. Mattive Open Space, located across Bromley Lane from the Oasis Family Aquatics Park, is in the process of being turned into a pollinator-friendly landscape.

This habitat will contain plants, flowers and grass that are all native to Colorado and attract insects that help pollinate the environment such as birds, bees, butterflies and dragonflies.

“A lot of these plants are what you would find growing here naturally 150 years ago when Brighton was farmland,” City of Brighton Open Space Manager Kyle Sylvester said. “So it’s all the stuff that’s going to do really well and we’re excited about it.”

Volunteers spent a Saturday in May at Mattive Open Space planting 130 different species of shrubs such as American Plum, Four Wing Saltbush, Buffaloberry, Rabbitbrush, Three Leaf Sumac, Golden Currant and Western Sand Cherry. Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado assisted with planting all the shrubs in about a dozen different locations. One thing you may notice though is the unique shape of the gardens that were planted.

“It kind of has a kidney bean shape or an amoeba shape,” Sylvester said. “That’s a natural shape. We don’t plant things in straight lines or in pairs because that looks more man made and we want it to look as natural as possible.”

The pollinator garden will fill in 2.5 acres of the 17 acres of land at Mattive Open Space. This change to the landscape was made possible through the city’s partnerships with Butterfly Pavilion, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado and a mini grant the city received from Adams County to help cover the costs.

“One of the things I’m passionate about is getting people with their hands on nature,” Butterfly Pavilion Horticulture Director Amy Yarger said. “Nature is not far away. It’s in our yards and our own parks and our own open spaces; so making sure that when people come out here they are seeing Colorado for its beauty.”

As part of the city’s ongoing partnership with Butterfly Pavilion, there will be opportunities to train community members and help them become Restoration Master Volunteers.

“These are community members who actually get trained to help us collect data on sites like this and help maintain sites like this over time,” Yarger said. “So we’re hoping to continue this by having weed-management sessions, weed pulls and also getting community members out here to measure the pollinator population so to come out here and actually do some observations and collect data for us so we can see how this habitat changes over time.”

The city’s next phase of connecting the community to Mattive Open Space will be installing interpretive signs to educate about this restoration project.

“The signs will explain what pollinators do for us, the different kinds of pollinating plants we have out here, why they’re important and what a native grass prairie does and what it should look like,” Sylvester said.

Following the installation of interpretive signs, the city will be reseeding the area with native grass and perennial seeds this fall.

This pollinator garden is the first of its kind in Brighton, but the natural beauty and convenience of having nature in our own backyards is nothing new to our city.