NY students construct pollinator gardens

Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 4:07 PM EDT
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ELIZABETHTOWN, N.Y. (WCAX) - A school in New York’s North Country is getting a hands-on lesson on how to save Adirondack insects. Eighth graders at Bouquet Valley Central School in Elizabethtown this week stepped out of the classroom and into the garden to get their hands dirty.

“Doing this -- it’s more fun,” said Jacob, a member of the “Gardening and the Environment” class. “Taking the grass clumps out, so like it doesn’t grow back.”

‘I’m really interested in gardening and the environment and I wanted to learn more about it,” added Sadie, another class member

They have learned about pollinator plants and insects in school, and now they are learning how to help by installing a pollinator garden on school grounds.

“We’re seeing more and more that it’s youth who want to be advocates for pollinators,” said Sawyer Cresap with ADK Action, the nonprofit that helped organize the project.

“Kinda helps bees and other insects that pollinate,” Jacob explained.

“It’s cool, now more people can learn about it in our school,” Burgess said.

Wednesday morning was dedicated to digging up the grass. “So it doesn’t grow back or like mess up the plants,” said Miley.

Next, students cover the space with cardboard and soil before planting the pollinator plants. “We have a whole bunch of different perennials here that are no herbicide, no pesticide,” Cresap said.

The plants bloom at different times of the year so the pollinators will have food, water, and habitat throughout the migration seasons.

ADK Action has helped install 30 pollinator gardens in the Adirondacks. The Elizabethtown garden was inspired and funded by Olivia and Victoria, who spend their summers in the Adirondacks. They are known for their lemonade stands that raise money and awareness to help save pollinators.

“I can’t think of anything better than youth that live here over the summer help youth that live here year-round,” said ADK Action’s Kristina Hartzell.

While it is late in the year to start, the garden will grow until it frosts and then be home for pollinators in the coming weeks. Then, next spring, the flowers will bloom and offer a chance for the next generation to save the next generation of pollinators.

“Pollinators can really come alive when you can smell the mountain mint, as opposed to reading about them in your textbook. So, we are hopeful that this will really pique people’s interest,” Cresap said.