Here is a post from our Bee Bold Alliance partner Conservation Works, with a highlight on our collaborative efforts to restore biodiversity and support local food systems with youth.
Stitching Together Bee Patches of Pollinator Habitat
By Oona Heacock, Executive Director of Conservation Works
On a foggy morning along the Westport Headlands Park, Conservation Works volunteer Joan Wier sets up tools for a group of Bee Bold Youth Core teens and their parents as they gather to plant a new habitat garden for bees. As the teens arrive at this dramatic seaside park, Joan guides them around the perimeter of the future garden, hanging string around wooden stakes that the group pounds into the mowed grass to form the shape of a whale in honor of the Westport Whale Festival held each year at this site. A Bee Patch is being created.
“The trick is to plant 3 foot blocks of the same kind of flower to attract pollinators and plant four seasons of bloom,” Weir explained. She went on to demonstrate how to hand grub the grassy headlands site to expose soil and then directed one mom and daughter pair to cast native lupin seeds directly onto the soil while others mixed seeds with clay to form little seed bombs which later would be rolled onto the site at the end of the day.
Bees are struggling. Multiple factors are causing this decline, but coming together as a community and involving youth to plant a “Bee Patch” of native flowering plants along with clean water and places to rest and nest along our farms, parks and homes can make all the difference in restoring healthy bee populations.
Conservation Works believes that the likelihood of long-term environmental sustainability of our pollinators needs to involve the next generation. Our Bee Patches program energizes youth to choose to be environmental stewards throughout their life, and nurtures them to become the change-makers for taking direct action to reverse the downward spiral in pollinator populations.
Bees inspire a sense of wonder and fascination in most of us and can be a good way to introduce youth and community groups of any age and background to the larger natural world. Bees can be found in any landscape. We will never see most of these furry little wildlife because they’re fast, often small, and nest underground. But take a summer stroll out in your garden or at a local park and you’re likely to spot more bees than you can count. Other beneficial insects and hummingbirds use a garden, too, as it’s a busy oasis of year-round habitat and food resources. Planting a garden is a powerful way to take local action and provide an offset to mounting, worldwide pollinator declines.
Everyone can take action with Conservation Works and the Bee Bold Alliance during National Pollinator Week by growing pollinator-friendly flowers, providing nest and rest sites, avoiding pesticides, and spreading the word. And don’t forget to make your commitment official by becoming a Pollinator Protector. Make your pledge.