Wildlife Garden to be Renovated

Because of the construction of the new visitor center at Five Rivers, which included demolition of the old visitor center, work on the Wildlife Garden was suspended until construction would not pose the risk of damage to the garden. There is still construction of a picnic pavilion and work on the accessible pathways to be done in the garden area.

Would you like to be part of the future of the Wildlife Garden?

Garden Sendable 3




Our wildlife garden started in the 1980’s as an herb garden, and, through the efforts of very dedicated volunteers, board members, and the Bethlehem Garden Club, it evolved into a garden that served our wild friends well for over twenty years.


Time marched on. Over the years:

  • the trees and shrubbery around the garden grew, shading out the sun
  • invasive weeds became a problem and then became overwhelming
  • deer found the shrubbery around the garden to be a great place to rest and the garden a great place to munch
  • the heavy clay soil became impossible to free of weeds and plants that had exceeded their boundaries.

In the life of every garden, there comes a time to start over, and it’s time to start over! Our friends at the Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program have been consulting with us. Here are some things we know we need to do:

  • Mitigate the shade around the garden (shade and butterfly gardens don’t mix).
  • Save the plants that can be saved and find them good temporary homes.
  • Dig out the weeds.
  • Amend the soil (compost… and more compost).
  • Design and put in the beds, walkways, fencing, weed control and water for creatures and plants.
  • Solicit donations of appropriate plants and shrubs.
  • Design and implement educational features and program offerings around the garden (Five Rivers is an Environmental Education Center first and foremost).

Appropriate plants and shrubs will have the following characteristics:

  • Attractive to birds, butterflies/moths, bees and other pollinators
  • Native to the northeastern US
  • Deer resistant
  • Drought tolerant.


Here’s how you can help:

  • Be patient! This will take time and a lot of work.
  • Volunteer to help with the renovation work and with maintaining the new garden.
  • “Board” some plants for us, grow some plants for us or contribute appropriate plants from your own garden.
  • Donations are always welcome, and we can earmark your donation to be for the Wildlife Garden.
  • Call the Friends of Five Rivers at (518) 475-0295, or use our web site to volunteer or donate.

Thanks for your interest in our Wildlife Garden!