Pollinator Garden at St. Joseph’s School
We “adopted” a neglected parking lot garden bed at our school with the goal of turning it into a pollinator garden that will support native pollinator species. We feel that the garden is important to our school as we are located in a central block in our town, so many people walk past the garden in addition to our school community. We hope that it promotes stewardship, and provides a location to other classes to learn about plant life cycles, observe seasonal changes and see pollinators in action. We hope to promote a love of nature in our school, with the idea that children who love nature will grow into adults who protect nature and want to combat climate change.
We chose to “rescue” a neglected, overgrown ornamental garden at our school, and turn it into a native species based pollinator garden. We had been studying biodiversity, native species to ecosystems and the role of pollinators in our ecosystem. We felt moved to take action to support pollinators in our area. Due to lack of drainage we needed a turf surface rather than grass at our school, so we felt a garden would help the pollinators in our school block and break up the concrete/turf on the property which acts as a heat island. We studied how heat islands contribute the climate change, and how climate change impacts pollinators in the ecosystem. The project ended up being much larger in scope than we anticipated due to the poor condition of the garden which had next to no soil, and just gravel and rubber supporting the plants. We also cleared many, many bags of leaves from the garden. We replaced the ground cover with new compost and soil, replaced the ground cloth and added all new mulch. We accepted a donation of mulch and soil from a community member. The class selected native species from a native species plant nursery, choosing plants that would flower through out the growing season at different times, and that would attract a variety of native pollinator species. We also transplanted the living plants that have survived in the previous garden. We would still like to add some bee hotels and water bowls, as well as a small walking path so students can walk through the garden without disturbing plants. We also purchased a rain barrel using extra funds since our soil and mulch was donated, which will allow us to divert and reuse rain water next September when it is installed by our custodial staff.
Reflection & Celebration
This project has a become a core memory for our class, and very special experience. We look forward to helping our garden continue to grow and thrive in future years, and enjoy it with the rest of our school.