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Best Bee-havior: Students plant pollinator gardens

Breck Allen, 9, a 4th grader at Williamstown Elementary, stands with his garden that encourages pollinators. (Photo Provided)

WILLIAMSTOWN — The Williamstown Bee City USA committee teamed up with Williamstown and Waverly elementary fourth grade students to educate children about the importance of saving pollinators.

Sixteen children participated in planting their own pollinator gardens this year, Sharon Dye, project coordinator with Williamstown Bee City USA, said.

The committee hopes to expand that number when school is back in session and a Bee City Committee representative can meet one-on-one with students and tell them more about pollinators.

The idea for the children’s pollinator gardens came after Marty Seufer, a Williamstown council member and president of the Bee City Committee, spoke with Tom Fenton, a Williamstown resident and Bee City associate, about wanting to get more pollinator-related activities for kids.

According to Fenton, volunteers from the community then came together to make bee kits and garden signs for each child. The kits included seed packets, growing instructions and a $15 gift card to Thompson’s Landscaping.

Wade Hurst, 9, is among the fourth grade students at Williamstown Elementary learning about the importance of pollinators in the ecosystem. (Photo Provided)

Some of the kids have made raised beds for their garden, while others had planted their gardens into the ground at their homes, Dye said.

Wade Garst, 9, a student at Williamstown Elementary, said he has had some trouble with hungry rabbits, but after replanting his garden, he can see it starting to flourish.

“Some kids are afraid of bees, but they are a big part of our fruits and vegetables producing,” said Garst.

Garst said because of the bee’s ability to help in the production of food, he planted his pollinator garden close to his vegetable garden.

Garst’s little brother, Henry Garst, also has been helping with the garden.

“We as a committee had to shift gears with what we could accomplish this year, because of the shut down and social distancing,” said Seufer. “With school being taught from home during the COVID-19 outbreak, we were really glad to be able to work with the elementary schools to help educate the youth and give parents an activity they could involve the whole family in.”

For those at home who would like to make a pollinator garden with their families, a list of plants that encourage pollination and can be added to a home garden is available at williamstownwv.org.

“We also have a listing of vendors at the River City Farmers Market in Marietta who have committed to having some of these flowers available for purchase this year,” Seufer said.

Seufer recommends those who wish to plant a garden to help pollinators like bees should choose plants that bloom both late and early.

“In the spring the dandelions are among the first food sources for the bees, but they need food sources year around, so flowers that bloom in the fall such as black-eyed Susans are nice to plant as well,” he said.

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