Essex High School students add pollinator garden to campus

Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 6:31 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ESSEX, Vt. (WCAX) - Native plants are crucial for healthy, functioning ecosystems. Over the years there has been a decline in habitat that has impacted pollinators like bees and butterflies, but students in Essex are doing their part to bring them back.

Students at Essex High School spent Thursday morning picking and planting.

“I took this class because I am very interested in the environment and the animals that are in the environment. Then we started planting,” said Makayla Longway, an Essex student taking an AP environmental science class that involves planting a pollinator garden in the school’s backyard.

About 20 students are participating in the effort to plant native species that attract pollinators. Longway says she wants to do everything she can to protect biodiversity and fight climate change. “It’s increasing rapidly and we are losing things by the minute. We want to keep our ecosystems alive. We want to spend time doing things like this to help it keep growing,” she said.

The project is a partnership between the Rotary Club of Essex, the high school, and the group Bee the Change, which is behind 45 similar projects across New England. The Essex garden is part of their Town Pollinator Project and the group’s Mike Kiernan says they couldn’t pass up the opportunity to involve the next generation. “This is what we need to do. We need to take up the monoculture that we have here and create a diverse habitat to support a diversity of species. And it’s great that it’s a school because these students are learning about that,” he said.

Erin Bessy, an EHS science teacher, was also thrilled her students were willing to get down in the dirt. “My hope is to bring positives back into some of the classroom conversations about the environment, what they can do to impact and improve it. With environmental news always being negative, this is one positive turn that they can do themselves,” she said.

Be the Change is excited to start partnering with more schools across Vermont. As for Essex High School, this environmental project is just the beginning.

Related Stories:

Pollinator-focused nursery opens in Jericho

NY students construct pollinator gardens