Hansen Park, located on the west side of Kennewick, is operated by the City's Parks & Recreation Department. This 25-acre park in primarily turf and trees, and includes playgrounds, picnic shelters, restrooms and a community garden. Paved paths make it a popular walking and jogging area for people of all ages and abilities. The park is surrounded by residential housing.
Hours: The park closes one-half hour after sunset until 6 a.m.
The Heritage Garden
at Hansen Park
The Heritage Garden at Hansen Park was created in 2018 with the conversion of 20,000 square feet (approx. 0.5 acre) of the city park. The Benton Conservation District (BCD) and Kennewick's Parks & Recreation staff work together to manage the garden. A team of vetted volunteer gardeners perform routine maintenance of the garden under the supervision of the BCD. The garden is somewhat formal and maintained accordingly. Visitors frequent the garden and often comment on how much they enjoy and appreciate it. The primary funding sources for the garden are grants and donations.
Creation & Planting Plan
The City of Kennewick, with grant funding from Washington State's Recreation and Conservation Office, implemented a Heritage Garden at Hansen Park (HGHP) in the spring of 2018. Benton Conservation District, in partnership with the Columbia Basin Chapter of the Washington Native Plant Society, developed the planting plan, oversaw implementation and developed a maintenance plan for the garden.
If you build it, will they come?
A biodiversity study is underway in this garden, investigating the importance to fauna of urban gardens consisting of mostly native plants. A side benefit is that we are learning to recognize the many critters making use of the garden and to better understand their roles in this ecosystem.
From the creation of the garden in 2018, through 2022, we (two of the principal gardeners) recorded over 500 observations of animals (mostly insects) in the garden, reaching 172 species-level identifications. These observations are recorded in the garden's iNaturalist project, Heritage Garden at Hansen Park. With the knowledge gained, we are identifying ways to improve the iNaturalist project, engage the public, and adjust gardening practices to improve biodiversity. A few of our observations are presented for your entertainment in the Critter Gallery.
In our report, The Heritage Garden at Hansen Park - iNaturalist Project Report, we tell a story of what we observed and documented through 2022. Following his review of our report, Dr. David James, Associate Professor, Department of Entomology, Washington State University, reported back to us:
"It's a great document that proves how valuable even small gardens can be in creating reservoirs of insect diversity and function! I must admit I am surprised at just how diverse the fauna has become in just 3 or 4 years! I would like eventually to write your project up for a scientific paper (with you all as co-authors), because it is an important and valuable demonstration of what can be done by creating a native garden. And this is an important thing that anyone can do for insect conservation." ~ Dr. David James
We plan to continue this study indefinitely under the supervision of Dr. James and the Heritage Garden Program. Anticipated near-term changes are the expansion of insect monitoring methods beyond the photography we use with the iNaturalist project.
Yes, they will come!
Background photo: Cuckoo Wasp by Donna Lucas