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New Vista Students Help Boulder “Bee” Pesticide Free!

CAP Students on their Overnight

The Community Adventure Program (CAP) at New Vista High School in Boulder just finished up their spring quarter and student-led Action Project, tackling the very pervasive issue of native bee decline in Boulder County.  Each quarter the students decide on a topic of interest for their Action Project and the class works together to figure out the best ways to address the topic and find solutions. The Action Project allows for increased environmental awareness around a selected issue and more importantly provides students with the opportunity to learn invaluable skills such as leadership, teamwork, community involvement, and project management.

CAP student, Gopal, gives a detailed summary of the class Action Project this quarter:

image4“In the earlier parts of the class, we had done research on ecological issues that are present in Colorado. We looked at issues such as pine beetles, fracking, pesticide use, and pollution of streams from old mines up in the mountains around Boulder. The goal of this project was to address an environmental issue that is currently a problem in Colorado and proceed to suggest a small sub-issue that we could tackle within the larger issue. Once we did this, we would have to think of a way of tackling such issue and then proceed to do it in the allotted time that we were given.  Our class decided to tackle an issue that many people are currently concerned about in Boulder, Colony Collapse Disorder, also known as CCD, as it relates to the native bee population. CCD has been linked to pesticides use and this is what we chose to focus on as a class.

Once we had agreed that this was going to be our topic, we proceeded to choose how we would go about educating people in our community about CCD. We first had to decide what we were going to do to spread information to the people of Boulder and maximizing the ways in which we could help the native bees of Colorado. We decided on doing a three part project to maximize our efforts.

image1First, we divided ourselves into different groups with specific jobs to perform. Some of us worked on posters, some people were given the job to plan how we would display our information, and others had the job of designing the route that we would go in the neighborhoods when telling people about CCD. I happened to be a part of the group who planned and planted seeds at the school, I spent my first day of the action project taking out weeds and planting bee-friendly flower seeds.

After groups were decided, the first phase was to fundraise money to buy bee-friendly seeds. The easiest way to do this was to do a bake sale at the school, which we did over a two day period. At the end of this, we had raised just over $50 dollars.

Then we went into phase two and three, which was the education and action pieces. For the education phase, we chose to walk around the neighborhoods of New Vista High School and tell folks about native bees, CCD, and pesticide use.  Phase three was to help the native bees as best we could and to do this we decided to plant flowers that they are attracted to in the garden at New Vista High School.  With the money that we raised, we were able to buy over 50 seed packets from BBB Seed in Boulder to plant at the school and give out to neighbors. Aside from purchasing discounted seeds, we were also gifted pamphlets from The Colorado State Beekeepers Association to hand out to neighborhoods. The pamphlets described such things as flowers that pollinators enjoy, pesticides people should stay away from, and other things you can do to help keep the bee population booming.

image2Our class spent a good amount of time going around the neighborhoods of New Vista and equipping people with the knowledge that they need to make a more conscious decision that can help our winged friends.  When we went around to the neighborhoods, our goals were to educate them on not using pesticides, ways they could help out pollinators in general by creating a habitat that is good for bees, and gaining pledges from people in the neighborhoods. These pledges were for people that agreed not to use pesticides at all. These pledges are so important because if enough people in a single neighborhood agree to this, the neighborhood can be classified as a “Bee Safe Neighborhood” (according to an organization we partnered with for this project, called Bee Safe Boulder).”

Students were able to gain pledges from many neighbors of New Vista and learned the difficulties and payoffs of teamwork and how leadership plays an important role in any successful endeavor.  The Action Project left a lasting impact on many of the students.

CAP student, Jaden, sums up the CAP class and Action Project:

“Overall I had a great time in CAP, I learned a lot about the environment surrounding Boulder, was able to refresh my knowledge of camping and survival skills as well as teach others what I know, became closer to my classmates, and was able to contribute to the movement to save native bees. From this class I am going to take away my new found knowledge of bees and the environment, as well as the experience of doing my part in making the community safer for the native bee population.”

Special thanks to Growing Gardens and the Entomology Department at CU for sparking interest and educating our students.  Also, gratitude goes out to Bee Safe Boulder for partnering with students and coming to New Vista High School to educate them on how to canvas neighborhoods effectively and spread native bee awareness in Boulder. Lastly, thank you Colorado State Beekeepers Association and BBB Seeds for your generous donations and contributions. Our Action Project would not have been such a success without all of your support!

Want to see more pictures from CAP this quarter?! Click Here.


Categories: Action Projects, Community Adventure Program, Program News

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