Windham Middle School is buzzing with excitement as students start working on an on-campus bee sanctuary. A few weeks ago, we had a landscaping expert from the Roosevelt Trail Garden Center come in to share how landscapers plan pollinator gardens. Hannah, our expert, shared the needs of native and invasive bee species, the benefits of perennials, color blocking, and the need for plant diversity for a longer feeding season for bees. Students asked questions, had one-on-one time with the expert to critique their own garden designs, and were able to present their designs to a small group of our school community.
We’ve been busy voting on final designs for our garden and getting our hands dirty weeding some abandoned raised beds on-campus to make room for our new bee sanctuary. It’s been the best experience to watch the reactions go from “yuck” to “cool” when students encounter worms, beetles, spiders, ants, and other life in our garden. We even have a record 14-inch-long root that was removed by one very proud student.
Students also had the opportunity to visit the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge to see first-hand how the endangered Piping Plover population in Maine is being protected. Students were excited to see some of the legal protections in action after learning about how state and federal legislation can help endangered species. They were able to hike to a remote beach in Wells to observe nesting habitats including a pair that had just arrived that day! Students also had the opportunity to observe birds from afar through scopes and binoculars. They were excited to apply some of the same recovery efforts to our community.
We all look forward to next week when we can finally plant our bee sanctuary and start observing what life our garden attracts to our school campus. Look for some photos coming shortly!