A chance of rain this weekend could prove helpful for the nearly 500 rare Venus Flytrap yearlings planted at Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden on Friday.
The effort was made possible by Duke Energy’s more than 30 employees and retirees, who teamed up with N.C. Coastal Land Trust to plant hundreds of Venus Flytraps at the garden, which is the only public carnivorous garden in the world.
“This is a very unique project because we had so many great partners,” Duke employee April England said. “The employees were so excited to come out here…and as you can tell as I was walking though the gardens – I love it!”
England, a member of Duke Energy’s Government and Community Relations Team, was the employee lead on the project. She helped coordinate Duke Energy’s volunteer effort with the Land Trust and the HandsOn Northwest North Carolina (NWNC).
The volunteers worked under cloudy skies Friday morning, but that weather was a welcomed treat with cooler spring temperatures that settled in while they worked to get the young and delicate Flytrap plants in the ground.
But before the Flytraps could be planted, volunteers had to remove some of the invasive and non-native plants from the garden’s grounds to make room for the Flytraps to grow. Volunteers also worked to build and install two “learn and touch” raised bed planters at the site to help with the Land Trust’s educational programming at the garden.
“It’s just about educating everyone about this wonderful little jewel we have in the middle of our city that a lot of people didn’t even know was here,” England said, adding that she had never visited the garden before the start of the project.
Jesica Blake, N.C. Coastal Land Trust’s Director of Stewardship, said the garden connects the public to the unique plants which only grow naturally within 100 mile radius from Wilmington.
“It’s an area inside the city where people can come and see Flytraps and see Pitcher Pants, and understand how unique the area that we live in is,” Blake said. “A flytrap is an endemic species, so it occurs naturally in Wilmington and in 100 mile radius of where we are right now…it doesn’t grow anywhere else in the world.”
Every year the Flytraps spring back and on Friday, some of the older plants were in bloom. Although Venus Flytraps are not listed as endangered, Blake said they are rare and threatened species of plant. Since the plants only grow in this unique area of southeastern North Carolina, a number of things have threatened the species, among them development, loss of habitat, burn suppression and poaching.
Through partnerships and Duke Energy’s volunteer effort, Blake said the hundreds of Venus Flytraps planted throughout the garden Friday should live for many years to come.
The volunteers were directed by N.C. Coastal Land Trust staff, with project support being provided by HandsOn NWNC, a state-based affiliate of the national Points of Light, which is partnering with Duke Energy across its footprint on the “#Care4Environment” projects like Friday’s volunteer effort.
“We were eager to help this #Care4Environment project be a success for both Duke Energy and the N.C. Coastal Land Trust. We loved the idea of planting Venus Flytraps and the fact that this could only be done in Wilmington. Our expertise in managing large-scale corporate service events helped everything go smoothly,” said Amy Lytle, Executive Director of HandsOn NWNC.
Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden, located at 2025 Independence Blvd, is an ADA accessible park that features a walking trail, wooden observation decks and a collection of native carnivorous plants such as Venus Flytraps and Pitcher Plants. The park is privately owned land that has partnered with the N.C. Land Trust and is managed by the City of Wilmington, Blake said.