Mississippi Community Builds Pollinator Garden with the Help of H&R Block Make Every Block Better Community Grant

October 17, 2022 : H&R Block

For the third consecutive year, H&R Block and Nextdoor are partnering to Make Every Block Better in communities across the United States. The partnership brings to life community-nominated projects that improve the spaces and places where neighbors connect. The initiative invites changemakers to submit local projects for grant funding and volunteer support. Communities from around the country nominated projects that uplift and improve their communities and give neighbors a better chance to connect with one another.

Nature is powerful. Grounding. Beautiful. And important to cultivate. H&R Block’s Make Every Block Better grant in partnership with Nextdoor enhanced nature’s gifts in Southaven, Mississippi. The mission: Establish a beautiful pollinator garden for the whole neighborhood to enjoy in a formerly overgrown and unused section of Cherry Tree Park.

Ronna Dandridge-Martin, a local community member, was eager to submit her idea for a pollinator garden after seeing the grant opportunity online. “I was hopeful this could bring our neighborhood together,” she said, and “this area will help neighbors to work together by sharing ideas and learning.” She and other community members saw potential in the underutilized wild space – and the Make Every Block Better grant empowered them to make the project a reality.

Over the course of a few sunny summer days, Cherry Tree Park residents, H&R Block volunteers, and Nextdoor team members combined forces to plant the garden. The group intentionally planted vegetation that would provide nectar for butterflies and leafy habitat for caterpillars, spreading mulch after to help the freshly planted garden bed retain moisture. Their efforts highlight the area’s natural beauty and create space for neighborly connection. The project transformed a poison-ivy-filled area into an oasis for crucial pollinator species and humans alike.

“Prior to this, it was just a wooded area,” said community member and project volunteer Mandy Pavlovich. “We couldn’t use it as a community.”

Dandridge-Martin emphasized that “being selected for this grant made my vision possible: to be able to teach and spread the importance of pollination and community.”

She credits the grant for helping her neighborhood create an enchanting place to live, work, and play. “The volunteer event encouraged us to work toward the greater good of our neighborhood, community, and the city of Southaven to promote more green space and bring people together for good.”


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