October 1 turned out to be one of those days that we haven’t experienced in a long time this fall–cold That didn’t stop the pollinator party of adults and kids (wearing shorts) from gathering at the Devon Elementary School garden for an official ceremony which included the science teacher, Jeremiah Glass; the principal Todd Parker and the superintendent of schools Dr. Richard Gusick and, of course, the children who participated in the pollinator project.
The children in Mr. Glass’s science class have been working on their raised beds this Spring and Summer with help from our Gardeners’ conservation group– Barbara Geltosky, Cathy Decker, Michele Spence, DeeDee Heyward, Deb Donaldson, Wyn Coghlan and Dr. Liz Mercogliano–who is also a member of the school board. Liz has completed her provisional year as a Gardener. Other members of the conservation group who helped out over this season were Sarah Collier, Lyn Marinchak and Helen Elkins
Initially the conservation committee members first cleared debris from six raised beds, and then on subsequent visits, planted divisions from their own gardens and from purchased perennials, including asclepius, anise hyssop, lavender, coneflower, hostas, salvia coral nymph, and pulmonaria. Vegetable plants and saved scarlet runner bean seeds were also donated to the school, which were used in science lessons or taken home by the students. Everyone, including the pollinators, seemed to enjoy the result of all the planning and labor to install the gardens. Club members worked over the summer to water, weed and mulch the beds and label the plants. The conservation committee is in the process of enrolling the garden in the Xerxes Society’s Million Pollinator Garden Challenge and they look forward to Devon Elementary becoming a Pollinator Habitat.
The Xerces Society is a nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. For over forty years, the Society has been at the forefront of invertebrate protection worldwide, harnessing the knowledge of scientists and the enthusiasm of citizens to implement conservation programs. I know that Barbara Geltosky is tired of repeating herself for the last two years about the pollinator project and this society, but for me it just now all came together as I met and heard the participants on Thursday.
On this chilly Thursday in the garden, Cathy Decker led the children in taking an oath never to use pesticides in not only the pollinator garden at school, but in their own gardens at home. The School garden is now a certified garden by the Xerces Society. Cathy Decker funded the pollinator sign that will hang somewhere in the Devon Elementary School garden. She has definitely become a valuable volunteer resource for these kids. For the ceremony on this Thursday, Cathy brought and gave to the class a small plastic greenhouse containing cuttings of bronze fennel in the larvae stage of the Eastern Black Swallowtails
Butterflies feasting on the plant. .
The Science teacher, Jeremiah Glass, wrote two witty, but lovely poems capturing his sentiments to The Gardeners pollinator group and to his students who participated in the project.
Besides the above, our president Karen Helm was on board to give a small presentation and help take photos of this wonderful event.