26 Jul Guest Blog: Teaching pollinator importance
This summer, I did a project for my Girl Scout Gold award focused on the importance of bees and bats and what we can do to help them. I chose these two creatures because they are both facing serious threats to their survival, are very important to the ecosystem, and are misunderstood and feared by many. For my project I taught a week long class about bees and bats at the middle school summer youth enrichment program.There were approximately 30 kids in the program.
I started off by teaching them basic information about bees such as the parts of a bee, different kinds of bees, hive organization and the jobs of the worker bees. We then discussed some problems bees are facing such as colony collapse disorder and ways that the students and their families can help. Some of the ways we talked about were providing native plants, water sources, not using pesticides and leaving nesting materials in the garden. We even made bumblebee houses.
The kids learned these things through games, crafts, and guest speakers. It was fun, and the kids really learned a lot.
Another part of the program was making a pollinator garden on the school grounds. The garden has lots of flowers, many of them native, as well as vegetables. The kids have enjoyed picking tomatoes, peppers, and radishes for their lunch salads. The garden will be an ongoing project of the youth program, and will provide bees and other pollinators with another food source in the neighborhood.
The science and culinary arts teachers have plans to use the garden as a teaching tool throughout the school year. I also shared this information with my community at our local farmer’s market. I hope that through this project people in my community will be better informed about these important issues.
Emma Rusnakis a senior in high school. She is interested in biology and loves the outdoors. She enjoys hiking, canoeing, camping, reading, and ballet. She plans to study Environmental Science in college.