STEM Events at Pollinator Gardens

This year has had so many exciting projects and one of them ‘Pollinators in Parks’ – in collaboration with Park Pride and supported by the Home Depot Foundation, has been educational and environmentally conscious. As you might remember, 5 pollinator gardens where built in five different community gardens across Atlanta. Two of the five pollinator gardens where chosen to host an educational event for two different school grades and two different schools which were neighbors of the gardens.

On October 6, our first STEM Event took place at Grove Park Community Garden. Harry Clements, the garden coordinator, assisted with a tour of the community garden. Park Pride Visioning Team (Andrew White, Teri Nye and Betty Hanacek) organized an interactive game about pollen and pollination for the kids. The Atlanta Botanical Garden Conservation team (Chelsea Thomas, Emily Coffey and I) organized three different activities related to Pollinators, community gardens, and Habitats of Georgia. The Habitats of Georgia activity was aimed at the importance of ecosystem interaction through amphibians and reptiles of GA.

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Chelsea Thomas ABG Amphibian Program Coordinator, teaching kids about the importance of these animal species.

The West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA) contributed with an interactive program on the vital importance of water. Grove Park is adjacent to the Proctor Creek. Darryl Haddock of WAWA supervised this activity as well as the completion of this first STEM Event.

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Darryl Haddock WAWA teaching kids about the importance of water in the City.

We had around 107 students of third grade from the Woodson Park Academy. Several teachers chaperoned their students while they were divided into groups to participate in each activity.

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Teri Nye-Park Pride explaining rules for pollinator game to kids!

On November 17, our second STEM event took place at Gilliam Park Community Garden. Debra Brook and Lee Watts from Gilliam Community Garden assisted with this event by teaching the students about Gilliam’s Rain Water Catchment System and their composting system area.

Park Pride and volunteers from the Atlanta Botanical Garden helped with the planting activity. Kids planted around 200 winter greens! These included collards, mustard green, cauliflower, green and red cabbage, mizuna, kohlrabi and lettuces, romaine green and red, green leaf and butterhead. Our own Carrie Radcliffe taught them about medicinal herbs of GA. Chelsea Thomas supported our second event, this time bringing only one friend, ‘a Salamander’, due to cold weather that day.

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After a catch and release activity with entomological nets, students had the opportunity to see some pinned specimens, like native solitary bees, flies, wasps, and beetles.

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We had around 100 9th grade students from Martin Luther King Jr Middle and several teachers as chaperones. We have some insightful students who were asking hard questions to our educators!

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Lee Watts teaching about composting and its importance at small scale

Both events were successful and action-packed!

‘Pollinators in Parks’ as a project is coming to an end, but the goals that were set exceeded our expectations. As we all know, everything that starts has to end but is all about transformation and progress. The next stage of this project will be surveying all five pollinator gardens and plus Linsday Street Park and Vine City Park for native bee communities. I can’t wait to tell you about what lives in our City Parks!

 

 

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