Children’s Discovery Meadows

By Kim Landis

I sat down with Marylou Barton and Lydia Martin, two of the masterminds behind Habitat Manheim Township (MT) this past Friday to discuss one of their recently completed projects, the Children’s Discovery Meadow.   The meadow is located behind the Manheim Township Public Library and serves as a replica of the natural meadows located beyond the boundaries of the Children’s Meadow.

Like all of the projects Habitat MT is involved in, the project began by removing invasive plants throughout the area.  Ms. Barton and Ms. Martin were very adamant about the importance of recognizing these invasive species.  Without proper knowledge, they said, many would assume an invasive plant is a native species and let it grow and invade the area.  Pollinators such as birds and insects are also to blame for the spread of the non-native species from other areas of Pennsylvania and around the country.

After the invasive plants were removed, new, native plantings were added to the area.  A group of volunteers work on a weekly basis to maintain the meadow and replace plants that may have died or been eaten by animal species.

What makes the Children’s Discovery Meadow so special is its educational features.  Small signs were created to display the names of the native plants in the Discovery Meadow and inform children and adults alike on what kind of animal species are attracted to the plantings.  Not only does this give children a very basic understanding of plants and animals, it also provides knowledge to those unaware of plant species native to their home town.