Editor’s note: The following article was written by Okanagan Landing elementary school teacher Sheila Monroe, Grade 5 students Damien Corson, Jesse Jagt and Isla Homer, and Grade 4 student Jeremy Peterson.
The bees were not the only things buzzing recently in Okanagan Landing School’s pollinator garden. It was also buzzing with the sound of students planting bulbs and spreading mulch for winter readiness.
Students were planting the many bulbs that had been donated by Swan Lake Garden Centre, Canadian Tire and Fisher`s Hardware. As well, the students sported new gloves donated to help them in their task along with a few more tools for their large pollinator garden, built last year at the school.
The garden sports new signs as well from a grant from the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan. The signs interpret the garden’s purpose and welcome visitors. Students in the school also supplied some of the art work on the signs which explain pollination, pollinators and thank the many groups who helped the school build the 5,000- square-foot garden.
Students in nine different classes from kindergarten to Grade 7 participated in the activity during the last month.
Interviewed by Isla Homer, school principal Brian Smyth says he is very happy about the school garden.
“The garden is helping students learn about pollination and native plants,” he said. “The garden is also used to teach students about other topics such as perimeter and area.”
School secretary Dianne Colley was interviewed by Damien Corson. She said she is really happy that we have the school garden.
“I think the garden is helping students learn how to grow their own food through planting in the school Pollinator Landing garden,” she said. “I believe that the students are enjoying growing their own food in the garden, which is giving the students a sense of accomplishment.”
Resource teacher Maureen MacLachlan said she thinks the garden is helping the students.
“Because they get to look at insects and share their thoughts with other teachers and school members,” she said. “The kindergarten kids are enjoying planting and spreading mulch in the garden.”
Interviewed by Jesse Jagt, vice-principal Carrie Sutch feels that the Pollinator Landing garden is helping build a better school community.
“It is teaching students more about the environment,” she said. “It provides vegetables and helps teach students about healthy eating.”
Students planted garlic bulbs so they can learn how to grow different types of plants and food. Last year three classes enjoyed roasted garlic on bread so there is lots of excitement.
Teacher Sheila Monroe is thrilled with all the enthusiasm for outdoor education and the fascination of the children for being outside and helping with all of the garden tasks.
“It’s one of the best parts of my days, seeing them learning with their senses as they do things in the garden,” she said.
Students are raising money for future garden projects and anyone who wants to help students learn by donating funds can contact Okanagan Landing at 250-542-1181.