Island Pacific School is a beautiful place of learning. The building itself is open and bright and when you walk in the door, you can feel the positive energy and enthusiasm of the students and staff. We are also lucky to be surrounded by trees and plants that create a place for us to play, learn, and increase our sense of well being. While it is wonderful and green, there is a lack of variety of colours and plants around the school grounds. One way that we can enhance our outdoor space is to plant a variety of flowering plants and to attract wildlife. Wild pollinators are an important contributor to the biodiversity of our ecosystems.

This year, the grade 7 class spent time researching the contribution that pollinators make to the environment and investigating the types of plants that will attract these important organisms with the hope to one day transform parts of the school grounds into a pollinator friendly garden. This is no small task. In order to choose the right plants for the garden, there are many factors to consider. Pollinators require specific plants and some essential conditions in order to survive and thrive through the year. Here is some of what the grade 7 class has learned and will consider when they plan our garden or their own garden at home.

“I have learned how important pollinators are for our ecosystem. They are the reason that we have plants and food!”

“When we are planting our garden I will keep in mind that different types of pollinators need different plants and conditions like mud and flowers or even bark. I was also surprised what different pollinators do to survive in our conditions and how they have adapted to survive.”

“It”s important to have flowers that bloom all year round and a variety of colours to attract different types of pollinators.”

“If we didn’t have pollinators, almost all the food that we grow would decrease and the prices of food would go up.”

“Pollinators play a crucial role in environments and ecosystems which is why we need to bring them back and support them.”

“It is important to mix up where you plant your plants in order to confuse the pests. It also gives the garden a nice look. At the same time you need to clump plants together so that pollinators have easy access to the plants that they need.”

“It is important to have shelter for animals when the weather gets harsher so they can safely get food.”

“If you use certain plants you can make the deer avoid your garden all together.”

“You should not use pesticides because they harm the bees.”

“We need to have native plants because the native bees are more familiar with them.”

“I never knew that moths, mosquitoes, and even flies are pollinators!”

“It is essential for any pollinator garden to have good drainage and structure.”

“Bee the change!”

Mason bees are important pollinators who are native to BC and are special to us because they do not sting! Recently, we built some mason bee houses and we purchased some mason bee cocoons. On a sunny day, we brought the bees out and were lucky enough to watch them crawl out of their cocoons and fly away.

In the coming years, we hope to increase the amount and variety of flowering plants around the school to attract more pollinators. We will carefully monitor the health of the plants and the activities of the pollinators to make sure that they are thriving. We are looking forward to the day when we can see the colours, smell the flowers and hear the buzzing of our visiting pollinators.

Pam Matthews

Science and Design Teacher