Beech Grove’s new ‘prairie of poetry’ to honor Sarah T. Bolton

By Angie Norris

Sarah T. Bolton Park in Beech Grove will soon welcome a new “prairie of poetry” just inside the park entrance. The new park project will showcase native Indiana prairie grasses and wildflowers that support native pollinator life and give Beech Grove residents a new opportunity to connect with the natural world while celebrating the legacy of Sarah T. Bolton, Indiana’s unofficial poet laureate and a women’s rights activist who resided in Indianapolis most of her life.

Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, the new Sarah T. Bolton Pollinator Prairie will create a space where visitors can enjoy the heritage poetry, nature and activism of Indiana. This prairie will reside on land formerly owned by Sarah T. Bolton and will be an enhanced natural space to honor her life and talents through her poetry and stories of her background.

“I hope that people will walk the garden and enjoy its beauty,” said Angel Calvert McKenna, facility manager for Hornet Park Community Center. “It’s a culmination of ideas and desire to honor Ms. Bolton through her poetry and to provide a native habitat for our pollinators. It will give our community a peaceful place to enjoy natural beauty native to this area, learn about local history, and experience art created now and long ago.”

The garden will include a walking path with Indiana native plantings attractive to bees, butterflies and birds. An educational signage honoring Bolton and the history of the park will be added along with gathering nodes with seating and small exhibits and a council ring for larger gatherings. Visitors will see artistic pieces and habitats placed throughout the garden.

The project will start later this spring and continue through the end of the year. (Submitted image)

The Beech Grove Greenscape Commission was awarded the 2020 IPL Project GreenSpace grant through Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc., to be used for project installation and program implementation.

The project is created in collaboration with the city of Beech Grove, the Beech Grove Greenscape Commission, Mader Design, Beech Grove Artist Collective, KIB, the Indiana Historical Society, Samuel Bryan Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and several local residents.

The Indiana Historical Society will generate content and designs for the exhibits showcasing Sarah T. Bolton’s life and poetry, and will work with the Beech Grove Greenscape Commission, the Samuel Bryan Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and local residents to gather additional stories and information that reflect the values of the community. The Beech Grove Artist Collective will coordinate community volunteer collaborations to create colorful, sculptural pieces that will accent the path. These sculptural elements will also hold bird and bat houses provided by KIB.

This community-based project will use many volunteers, both from the community and from local corporate groups wishing to give back to the people that they serve. Tree, prairie and ornamental plantings will all be completed with volunteers, as will the removal of any invasive plants. The park project will start in late spring and continue through the end of the year. Volunteer workdays will be planned soon. Check out beechgrove.com for additional information on how to participate.

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