Twenty-five volunteers from the Fort Hood Natural Resources Management Branch, Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful, Copperas Cove 4-H and community worked together and lent a helping hand to build a bird, bee, butterfly and bat garden.

The volunteers were very positive and giving with their time.

“When you’re part of a region like Copperas Cove there are no boundaries and it doesn’t matter to us where we participate,” said Silvia Rhoads, executive director of Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful. “As long as we are asked, we will always be there to help.”

The project was made possible by a grant from the Defense Department Legacy Resource Management Program and the National Environmental Education Foundation.

Helping to reduce its carbon footprint, Fort Hood worked with the city of Copperas Cove to purchase mulch, compost and plants locally.

“When you’re organic gardening, using compost rather than fertilizer, provides better nutrients to plants, doesn’t create the nitrogen run off from fertilizer and doesn’t harm the environment,” said Virginia Sanders, Fort Hood biologist.

The garden will be an outdoor learning experience for the community to enjoy and learn about xeriscaping, sustainable landscaping with native plants and water wise landscaping.

“Native plants use very little water and are low maintenance,” said Marion Noble, Fort Hood geographer.

“There is a misconception that native plants don’t look good, but this garden will showcase native plants that have color, conserve water, and are beneficial to the environment.”

The bird, bee, butterfly, and bat garden is a combination of plants and flowers for those animals to have food and shelter.

The bat houses will welcome hundreds of Mexican free-tailed bats and nesting boxes will be home for wrens and bluebirds to lay their eggs and raise their young.

In the next phase later this year, bat houses and nesting boxes will be mounted in a field near the Natural Resources office along with benches, trellises, bird baths and trees.

Nathan Brockett, who has been a 4-H member for six years, had fun and plans to volunteer again.

“Our motto is to make the best better,” he said. “It means that we should do our best so that we can improve ourselves and make a bigger difference in the community.”

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