NY students construct pollinator gardens

ELIZABETHTOWN, NY (WCAX) — A school in New York’s North Country gets a hands-on lesson on how to save Adirondack insects. Eighth graders at Bouquet Valley Central School in Elizabethtown stepped out of the classroom and into the yard this week to get their hands dirty.

“Doing that — it’s more fun,” said Jacob, a member of the Gardening and Environment class. “Take out the clumps of grass so they don’t grow back.”

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

They learned about pollinator plants and insects at school and are now learning how they can help by creating a pollinator garden on school grounds.

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“We’re seeing more and more that it’s youngsters who want to take action for pollinators,” said Sawyer Cresap of ADK Action, the nonprofit organization that helped organize the project.

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

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

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

Next, students will cover the room with cardboard and soil before planting the pollinator plants. “We have a whole bunch of different perennials here that aren’t herbicides or pesticides,” Cresap said.

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The plants flower at different times of the year, giving pollinators food, water and habitat during the migratory season.

ADK Action 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 save pollinators.

“I can’t think of a better way than for youth who live here in the summer to help youth who live here year-round,” said Kristina Hartzell of ADK Action.

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Although it’s late in the year to start, the garden will grow until frost and then be a home for pollinators in the weeks to come. Then, next spring, the flowers will bloom, giving the next generation a chance to save the next generation of pollinators.

“Pollinators can really come alive when you can smell the calamint instead of reading about it in your textbook. So we hope this will really pique people’s interest,” Cresap said.

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