When Spanish Teacher Christi James and Lower School Science Teacher Sarah Jackson realized they would be sharing a Grade 2 block, they decided to “cross-pollinate” (pun-intended) their disciplines by reinforcing science lessons with Spanish and Spanish lessons with science. With a focus on pollination, they had an idea to plan a pollinator garden on Graland’s campus and take the students along for the education-packed, educational ride. The Grade 2 teachers were onboard, too.
Coincidentally, Señora James' daughter Anna, a Graland alumna, was working as an intern at the Butterfly Pavilion, and one thing led to another. Señora James reached out to Amy Yarger, the Butterfly Pavilion’s director of horticulture, who was very interested in getting involved in the project.
While the contact was being made behind the scenes, Spanish lessons were underway to complement the science. For example, they were reading La Oruga Muy Hambrienta (The Very Hungry Caterpillar), and Señora James was teaching the students about a young Guatemalan activist, who worked with her community to make life better for everyone who lived there. The students were learning they too could affect change.
Meetings were scheduled on Zoom with Ms. Yarger so she could meet with students. She asked them questions like, “Do you see any pollinators on campus?” and “What do you think might attract more of them to Graland?”
The second graders told her they didn’t think there were very many pollinators on campus, and they thought shelter, access to water, and definitely more flowers, would attract more. The team asked Ms. Yarger if she could help them pick the perfect spot on campus for a new pollinator garden.
Next, they consulted with Sarah Shutts, Graland’s horticulturist and grounds specialist. The students and teachers toured the campus with Ms. Shutts, who had picked several plots to assess. With her insight, the kids thought critically about access to irrigation, the environment, available light, plot size, and the natural and manmade features that might detract or attract pollinators.
At this time, a possible garden plot has been identified. Students are working to write persuasive letters, and possibly present verbal pitches, to Head of School Josh Cobb, Director of Finance and Operations Juan Botello and Director of Buildings and Grounds Israel Ramirez, to garner permission to move forward with the project.
Stay tuned for the continuation of this evolving story.