| Vicki Whisenhunt

STRIVE Prep – Westwood Students Learn the Importance of Pollinators

STRIVE Prep - Westwood Students Learn the Importance of Pollinators This year’s STRIVE Prep – Westwood CAP class choose to focus their action project on food – well, on the process of growing food actually. After spending several class periods looking at environmental problems going on around the world and locally, the CAP students learned about the importance of pollinators for food production and how pollinators are suffering. Then, on their spring camping trip to Cal-Wood Education Center, they saw a bee nest box and a sign that explained that it was a man made habitat for pollinators. After seeing this, the class got very excited to focus their Action Project on helping the bees.

After some research, the class found that bees are dying because of pesticides and habitat loss. When humans use toxic pesticides on plants that bees visit, it can kill the bees right away or it can be brought back to the hive, killing the hive. This shows how in reality we are killing bees when we put pesticides on plants.

STRIVE Prep - Westwood Students Learn the Importance of Pollinators One thing that we can do is just to stop using pesticides on our plants that give us food. Also, when farmers create monocultures, all the plants flower at the same time, leaving bees with too much food at one time and not enough at others. This can hurt the bees, unless farmers leave different flowering plants around the edges of fields. Also, people living in neighborhoods tend to create flowerless landscapes like grass or rocks around their houses leaving bees without food in these environments. Keeping flowering plants for the bees around a home can help, as well as leaving places for bees to nest, like old logs.

For those of us who do not farm, or own a home, we still can help bees by buying natural and organic foods (without pesticides) and planting bee friendly flowers wherever you can. Bees also need places to lay their eggs, and having no place for nests is another problem hurting bees. The STRIVE Prep – Westwood students decided to help provide nest sites for native bees in the Westwood neighborhood. They studied bee box designs online and decided to build a bee box with four different hole sizes that would provide habitat for four different kinds of local bees. They collected some untreated wood blocks, drilled holes into the block and then attached the block to a board.

STRIVE Prep - Westwood Students Learn the Importance of Pollinators After creating the bee nest box, they had to identify a good place to install it, hopefully near some flowering plants. The students knew that the Re:Vision Urban Farm had flowering plants that probably needed bee pollinators, so they contacted the farm to see if they wanted the bee box. After getting the okay, the students met for one final class at the farm, talked with Re:Vision Director Joseph Teipal about best places to put the bee box, and then attached the box to a fence near one of the fields. They also attached signs explaining the purpose of the nest box, in English and Spanish, for farm visitors to read. With any luck, native bees in the area will find the box and call it home, producing more and more bees to help pollinate the plants on the farm.

Written by Bryan Fernandez-DeSantiago (with Angel Reyes), Bee photo by Bryan Fernandez-DeSantiago

See more photos from the project here!


Categories: Action Projects, CAP, Program News, Re:Vision, STRIVE Prep

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