What do cherries, blueberries, pumpkin pie, and chocolate all have in common? They all need pollinators! That’s one of the reasons why Gateway School’s 5th grade students planted a California native pollinator-friendly garden in Life Lab – Gateway’s one-third acre outdoor science learning lab.
This new nectar garden is the beginning of the students’ efforts to create a Neighborhood Nectar Corridor to provide a safe rest stop for butterflies, bees, and other pollinators — insects that are responsible for approximately one-third of all food crop pollination. When complete, the Neighborhood Nectar Corridor will consist of a series of contiguous nectar gardens filled with California native pollinator-friendly plants including Ceanothus, Yarrow, Sea-side Daisy, Coyote Mint, Coastal Sand Verbena, and Pacific Aster that connect Gateway School with the Monarch butterfly’s overwintering site at Natural Bridges State Beach.
Gateway’s mission to inspire children to lead lives of purpose and compassion through scholarship and citizenship is evident in this project. When thinking about service-learning project ideas, the 5th grade students in Life Lab built upon what they learned about California native animals in 2nd grade — that habitat loss has and continues to impact the world’s plants, animals, and ecosystems. They wanted to do something positive to have a lasting impact and involve the larger Santa Cruz community.
In addition to creating their own garden, Gateway students, in conjunction with Gateway alumnus and owner of Rewild Designs Covey Potter, are propagating California native pollinator-friendly plants and donating them to the campus’ neighbors to make their dream of establishing the Neighborhood Nectar Corridor a reality.
Gateway’s Kindergarten through Middle School students develop a strong sense of personal responsibility for the natural world and others. Taking what they learn in the classroom into the community lets students discover and experience the difference that each of us can make.
If you are interested in learning more about the Neighborhood Nectar Corridor or information about what to plant contact Life Lab Science teacher Caprice Potter (email@example.com).