Dalhousie Pollinator Garden Project
Our vision for Canada is…to raise awareness of the importance of pollinator species, and increase their habitat.
Dalhousie Elementary is an older school with what used to be an aging school yard, largely consisting of an old playground and grass fields. Students, parents, and staff from the school have worked hard over the past year to naturalize parts of the school yard. The EcoLeague grant specifically helped turn an overgrown terraced garden area into the beginning of the school pollinator garden. Parent volunteers helped clear out the gardens and prepare it for two full days of student planting. Pollinator plants were purchased through funds provided by the EcoLeague grant. The students loved seeing the transformation in the gardens, watching the flowers bloom and bees return to the area. Through the creation of this habitat within the school yard, the students are exposed to the role of pollinators, and why we must work hard to preserve, and increase, habitats for these important species.
Receiving the EcoLeague grant from LSF put into motion the creation of the Dalhousie Pollinator Garden. Terraced beds that were already present, but significantly overgrown, were cleared out, pruned, and readied for student planting activities. Grant money was used to purchase native pollinator plants that are hardy to the sometimes challenging prairie conditions, as well as Canadian Wildlife Federation Pollinator Plant packs were donated from a neighbouring school. Two full days of planting were coordinated by parent volunteers, where each classroom participated in the planting, weeding, watering, and general care of these newly established gardens. A short discussion of garden care and the importance and role of pollinators was also part of the activities. For the remainder of the school year, different classrooms were responsible for watering these plants. Families volunteered to continue with the garden care over the summer months while school was out. With the returning school year, students were happy to see that their plants had survived, and even flourished, while they were away. There are plans to create a garden club within the school to ensure that this newly created habitat continues to develop. One of the goals for the school and parent council is to have these gardens certified by the CWF as a wildlife friendly habitat.
Reflection & Celebration
This project, though essentially fully established, will always be ongoing due to the nature of it. Even with the full commitment by the school and parent volunteers, some plants succumbed to lack of water, being picked/trodden over/pulled up by curious hands, and especially the veracious appetite of our local rabbit population. We will continually request the community for donated perennials, as well as seek out means for collecting funding to allow for future maintenance of the gardens (eg: purchase of longer hoses to help with watering, adding mulch to the gardens to help with weed and moisture control for the plants, improving the quality of the soil through the addition of compost and sand, etc).