Conservation in Action award presented by Love Our Land

By Chuck Gibson

LOVELAND, OH (August 30, 2022) – The Love Our Land organization of Loveland, Ohio presented the Loveland Post Office with the Conservation in Action Award during a brief ceremony on Friday, August 12, on the grounds of the Post Office.

Plaque presented to Loveland Postmaster Brenda Schubert and Post Office maintnance manager Robert Stears recognizing their efforts with the pollinator garden there (Chuck Gibson)

Loveland Postmaster Brenda Schubert and facilities maintenance manager Robert (Bert) Stears were on hand to accept the award plaque presented by Mike Meldon, Doug Gilbert and other members of Love Our Land. The award was presented in recognition of the pollinator garden project on the grounds of the post office. While it has been in full bloom throughout the late spring and summer months, the pollinator garden was just an idea one year ago.

Cindy Kessler spearheaded the design and planning of the pollinator planning. Seeing the garden come alive holds special meaning to her.

‘It means everything. It is very, very exciting. It’s such an aesthetic improvement for Loveland and to be in such a public place (Post office on Loveland-Madeira Rd) is very exciting.” – Cindy Kessler – serves on Loveland Tree & Environment Committee

 Her idea bore even more fruit than Kessler could have imagined. The deli mart across from the post office saw what was being done and wanted to have a pollinator garden on their corner too.

“It shows that, by example, other people will follow your lead,” Kessler remarked. “I think it would be great if other businesses would follow suit as well. Can you imagine how beautiful it would be?”

Mike Meldon & Doug Gilbert – Love Our Land organization with plaque they presented to Loveland Post Office for Conservation in Action (Chuck Gibson)

Leading by example, having others follow their lead is exactly the mission and hope of Love Our Land leader Mike Meldon. That is where the roots of sustaining a healthy thriving eco-system and beautiful environment lie. He says most land east of the Mississippi is privately owned. A public place like a U.S. Post Office facility taking action for conservation of our land helps give hope to the success of their mission.

“An entity such as this makes this change, people then start to think about their own yards,” said Meldon. “That’s the goal of Love Our Land. We want people to make changes in their own landscaping.”

People have the standard landscaping for curb appeal, but it does nothing to give back to feeding insects and pollinators we need. Meldon hopes people will ask themselves how they can change that.

“If we can inspire that at all, that’s our goal.” – Mike Meldon 

The Pollinator Garden at the Loveland Post Office (Chuck Gibson)

They have a reforestation project at Phillips Park, and a pollinator garden at Village Anniversary Park as well. People have noticed the difference and asked some questions. Sadly, the feedback is not all positive. Meldon believes a lack of understanding by some in the community causes the negative comments. It’s part of the reason the organization was eager to recognize the Post Office doing the right thing supporting the pollinator garden with the Conservation in Action Award. The hope is it will help people understand better the important role conservation of our natural environment plays in addressing the current bio diversity crisis we face. Doug Gilbert, Love Our Land, summed up what that means.

“The bio diversity crisis is the loss of the non-human life around us,” said Gilbert. “It is occurring at an accelerated rate from what we’ve typically seen in the past and is on par with other mass extinctions we’ve seen. It is a crisis caused by humans and a disconnection from nature and not understanding how we need to care for the land and the wildlife occupying the land.”

A lot of human dominated landscapes and even natural and green spaces are filled with non-native invasive vegetation introduced from other countries for a variety of reasons including ornamental and agricultural purposes. Those plants are taking over natural spaces and they do not serve native species well. In other words, they do not feed the native plants, thus creating a food desert for local wildlife. With pollinator gardens, planting of native plants, we build up the natural food source for wildlife. Without that build up, that natural food source, Gilbert says that’s when we see the loss of wildlife population.

Left to right: Mike Meldon, Becky Giver, Donna Barnes, Peggy Goodwin, Janine Fischer, Doug Gilbert & Cindy Kessler during award presentation at Loveland Post Office Friday, August 12, 2022 (Chuck Gibson)

For all of these reasons, the Loveland Post Office was honored with a plague recognizing them for their Conservation in Action with the pollinator garden. As noted, the idea, plan and design for the garden at the Post Office were born of Cindy Kessler who serves on the Loveland Tree & Environment Committee. Last fall though, it was Peggy Goodwin and a team of volunteers who literally planted the seeds which provided the blooming pollinator garden outside the Post Office. They even spread loads and loads of natural wood chips, not treated mulch, but natural wood chips which help protect the people working with them, the ground and the plants. Goodwin and the volunteers do it for the love of our land – Loveland.

“It’s why Loveland is so great. We are a community,” said Goodwin. “People come up with an idea, other folks jump on it and other people want to get involved. This is absolutely fantastic!”

Goodwin says when Cindy Kessler mentioned this idea about a year ago, she immediately reached out to about a dozen people asking for help. Every single one responded with a yes.

“People contributed plants out of their own gardens. We collected seeds,” Goodwin said. “Emily Hicks’ Loveland High School class did winter seeding of flowers for us. The three ladies here this morning, Janine Fischer, Becky Giver, and Donna Barnes; they were the ones who laid out and designed these beds and decided what plants would go where. To see these plants that started as seeds now in full bloom three and four feet tall and blossoming; it is just fabulous.”

Visit www.loveourland.org to learn more.