Native Pollinator Garden
Our primary goal is to help children fall in love with nature! We can’t learn to love nature from inside, so we wanted to create a learning-garden for our students. We wanted to create a space where students are able to interact with soil and plants. This enthusiasm creates the beginnings of the next generation of environmental stewards.
We decided to not only create a garden for students to learn in, but also for native pollinators to thrive in. Therefore, we chose to focus on native plants. Not only can native plants help engender place-based learning and create a sense of local pride, but these plants also directly benefit the environment. Due to habitat destruction, pesticides, and a litany of other reasons, our bees and butterflies are in trouble. Douglas Tallamy teaches us the importance of using native plants to help our insect population and encourage biodiversity.
As a team, we created a garden plot of six large planter boxes. These hold (almost) exclusively native plants.
Students were included in every step of the planning process. Students designed the arrangement of the garden plot (including planter size and placement) on minecraft (to scale) with pollinators in mind. Students looked at plant attributes (including moisture and light needs, colour, size and bloom-time) and organized the plants into the garden beds. Students filled the planters with soil and water, as well as planted the plants. Students are now working on making signs to label the garden. We have hopes for future expansion.
Reflection & Celebration
The hardest part has been raising awareness about the purpose of our garden. We have done this through creating a website (jlgardenclub.weebly.com) and making school-wide challenges (word searches, colouring pages, slide-show). The student garden club, who names themselves “the Jessie Lee Jungle” has helped raise awareness, as well as organize challenges. We meet digitally through the use of the Teams app. We loved the Jessie Lee Jungle club. One student wrote, “this is the best club ever.” Each step has taken longer than expected, especially with Covid safety measures and restrictions. However, it has been fun and worth it.
We are celebrating by hosting a digital community week on Padlet. School members at Jessie Lee are encouraged to visit the garden and take photographs of pollinators working in our garden (as well as their own gardens at home). After taking these photos, we are asking them to upload them to our Padlet “wall.” This will be done during the week of May 25-28. This will help build a sense of community and commonality.