Sustainability was an important factor in the creation of this year’s environmental project. Our council wanted to address the importance of pollinator species in the functioning of a healthy environment. Pollinators play a crucial role in maintaining the health of other organisms within their ecosystem. The project we are focusing on this year is creating a pollinator garden at the front of our school which is located in between two parking lots. Pollinators often need to rest before they can travel further, however in urban areas there are few places for them to do so. Our pollinator garden will therefore provide a “rest stop” for native pollinators in the area. This will not only create invaluable habitat for pollinators such as butterflies and bees, but we will also be creating signage to promote education and awareness of the importance of pollinators. By creating this garden, we as a council are actively seeking to protect pollinators and their habitats. Our vision is to create a greener Canada with more gardens and green space within urban areas. This project will allow students from our school, led by members of the environment council (KEC), to become directly engaged in creating a greener, more sustainable Canada.
We have identified a suitable location and appropriate plant species for the pollinator garden. The garden is south facing with sufficient sunlight for selected sun-loving indigenous perennials. We have an active team of 20 volunteer members of the environment council who will be led by the gardening group subcommittee. We will lead, design, plant, and maintain the garden, as well as create an informative sign to post beside the garden to educate the 1200 students at our school about the importance of pollinators.
This is our plan to engage students and to make our vision a reality. This pollinator garden will increase pollinator biodiversity, demonstrate a low water use garden, improve the aesthetic of school grounds, and support local businesses by purchasing pollinator species from Evergreen Brick Works. Youth leadership is central to this project. By engaging students in the creation and promotion of this pollinator garden, we will be increasing our skills and capacities that can be applied to future projects. Younger students will also be invited to get involved in this project to spark their interest in environmental education activities. Through student engagement in the garden and signage, we will educate students, staff, and parents at the school and in the community.
Reflection & Celebration
The cold, rainy, and below seasonal weather was the major challenge we have encountered. However, it gave us more time to plan and map out our vision for the pollinator garden. We have been successful in recruiting members of our environment council to take leadership roles on the day of planting (many of whom look forward to being involved in this important and exciting day). From this experience, one is able to develop his/her leadership skills and other transferable skills such as collaboration and initiative. One is also able to learn the importance of pollinator species and how they relate to our own everyday lives. One can develop an understanding of the biological needs of plants and the process of raising funds for community initiatives. Like the members of the environment council before us, our legacy will live on through our projects, including this pollinator garden initiative. Ongoing care for the garden will continue throughout future years, as our environment council has an established gardening group that has committed to maintaining gardens around the school (biannual weeding, additional planting). The lessons learned from this pollinator garden project can help us as we plan for the building of an additional pollinator garden in the near future.