It’s an area of the beachfront to which we rarely give much thought. The sand between our cars’ hoods and the boardwalk? That’s a problem for whoever’s driving the street sweeper!
In Ortley Beach, however, things are going to be different. This little-thought-about swath of land between asphalt and beach sand has a new use – a mulched and watered garden of native plants to attract monarch butterflies during their migration seasons. The Jersey Shore, as long-known, is a key mid-point between the species’ trek between Canada and Central America each late summer and fall.
The garden is a result of the elbow grease of local volunteers, plus some funding from New Jersey American Water Company. The water company donated $8,430 for a pollinator garden in Ortley Beach, which has now been largely constructed between the parking lot and boardwalk between Coolidge Avenue and the oceanfront in Ortley Beach.
More than 350 plants have been placed in the ground so far, and there may be room for more, organizers said this week. Groups of volunteers delivered and planted the flowers, grasses and bushes over the course of two days.
The pollinator garden includes a “vigorous outreach effort, hoping to inspire residents and travelers to incorporate more pollinator inclusive behavior when planting their own gardens,” a statement from the water company said.
A pollinator garden is a garden that is planted with flowers and other plant species that provide nectar or pollen for native pollinators, such as butterflies, hummingbirds and other creatures that are beneficial to the environment.
The grant was formally awarded to the Toms River Environmental Commission, one of five projects to receive funding from the company.