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Spriggly’s Beescaping: Inspiring Conservation Through Education and Habitat Restoration

Jill Jacobs, Brannen Basham, and Lucie Patten of Spriggly’s Beescaping

By Maddie Mann, Communications and Education Associate

Six years ago, Jill Jacobs and Brannen Basham combined their skills and interests to form a blossoming business. Brannen’s skills in native plant horticulture and ecology meshed perfectly with Jill’s skills in marketing and business development. Together, this husband-and-wife team created Spriggly’s Beescaping. Through native plant landscaping, or “Beescaping”, they began working with clients on removing invasive plants and creating pollinator gardens. Spriggly’s has grown from there into a dynamic habitat restoration and nature education business, driven by the duo’s passion for pollinators.

At Conserving Carolina, we are grateful for the many contributions that Spriggly’s has made to our Habitat at Home campaign, volunteering their expertise to help educate people about how to restore nature on their own land, whether their property is large or small!

The Spriggly’s Team and a raised bed filled with native plants

Spriggly’s educational resources give folks opportunities to learn on their own and spark that passion for conservation. Jill explains, “We always knew that the biggest piece of whatever we were going to do always starts with the education. Even if we’re going to work on a property, it starts with a one to two hour consultation. We go out, talk about the whole space, explore the plants, and discuss the invasive pressure.”

She continued, “For us, the education piece is probably the most important part because that’s the step that can inspire change outside of what we can come in and do on a property. We also wanted to make sure that there was information available at any time. Which is why the nature education piece is so important to us. We feel like that’s kind of the key to everything, to taking it beyond just the work that we can do.”

On top of the free resources available on the website, Spriggly’s online course series, Gardening for the Planet, offers simple steps to become stewards of the environment with over 16 hours of content (that never expire) for a small fee.

In addition, Brannen has been a regular writer for the Sylva Herald for about 4 and a half years writing weekly nature-related articles. He’s since taken some of these favorite articles, compiled them into a book, and expanded them. The book is A Guide to the Wonderful World Around Us. It contains a collection of 60 articles, ranging from mushrooms to the moon!

The other book, written collectively by Brannen and Jill, is a children’s book called Finding Home: A Story of a Mason Bee. After a mason bee loses its log home in construction, it meets different pollinators and learns how they all nest and live. They hinted at volume 2 on the way, so stay tuned! This book became a family affair; Brannen’s mother illustrated the book, and Jill’s mother, a long-time educator, created an entire curriculum kit around it for camps, teachers, and more! Both books are available on their website.

Their educational reach doesn’t stop there! They also create handmade educational nature-based exhibits and other teaching tools, often with a special focus on native bees and other pollinators. These pieces can be found across the country, in places like the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology in Syracuse, NY and Great Expectations Children’s Museum in St. Petersburg, and are working on a new project with the Erie Zoo.

Brannen says, “It’s been exciting because it also shows that there is a need for this, and people are actively looking for the education piece more than anything. Especially if you can engage people at a young age, they get so excited that it kind of just sparks that love of bees and conservation in general”.

In addition to these interactive exhibits, Spriggly’s also creates interpretive signage and QR code plant tags for pollinator gardens. Recently they completed a series of eight signs for the French Broad River partnership, working closely with Haywood Waterways, that can be found around the region at sites like New Belgium Brewing Co. in Asheville and Bearwaters Brewing in Waynesville.Even with all these resources right at our fingertips, Spriggly’s still offers their habitat restoration services in the form of virtual garden designs and in-person consultations. As of July, Spriggly’s has planted over 4,500 native plants throughout their landscaping projects this year alone! In the beginning, they had to explain the type of work Spriggly’s offers, because they aren’t your regular landscaping service who will come mow your lawn. They identify the invasive and native plants within the space, check for erosion, and design the space to establish a path forward.

Brannen explained, “As we’re beautifying the spaces and putting in these pollinator gardens, we’re also increasing the spaces’ resilience towards future stressors like heavy stormwater runoff and drought events. We are still hopefully ensuring that these landscapes stick around, no matter what the environment throws at them in the next 50 years.”

But today, folks are reaching out to Spriggly’s directly for their expertise in habitat restoration and native plants to restore their outdoor spaces. This need was not as common back then as it is now, with the conservation conversation louder than ever. They’ve also noticed that clients now want to be a part of the landscaping process, something they call “educational workdays”. This allows the Spriggly’s team to implement the changes while educating the client on the plants and methods being applied.

Lucie, Jill, and Brannen show off their landscaping equipment

Spriggly’s Beescaping is certainly keeping busy. If you’re imagining the huge team they have to work on so many projects, try again. Lucie Patten is Spriggly’s habitat restoration assistant and communication specialist. She is also Jill and Brannen’s only staff member. That’s right, this team of 3 is behind it all! Of course, on some larger projects or collaborations they receive the help and manpower of volunteers, but these three are behind it all.

Lucie has been with Spriggly’s for just over one year and studied environmental science with conservation at UNC Wilmington. She was volunteering with Haywood Waterways, and caught Spriggly’s attention out of 40 volunteers when she began to organize and clean materials without anyone asking, making the project run more smoothly. They didn’t exchange information, but ended up tracking Lucie down and the rest is history. Lucie primarily does habitat restoration work, but she also helps with their newsletter, social media, and much more. As Jill puts it, “We are an all hands on deck team here at Spriggly’s”.

Lucie points out a monarch caterpillar munching on some milkweed

Thanks to all the time and hard work Brannen and Jill have put into both sides of the business, habitat restoration and nature education have never been more accessible. They are sharing what they know and have given folks the ability to educate themselves and their children. They’re creating a better planet with every project, and it would be disgraceful to let all their hard work go unrecognized. We thank them for all that they do, and to keep inspiring all of us to conserve, restore, and protect. Please check out all that Spriggly’s Beescaping has to offer, there’s something for everyone!

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