As if we needed a reason to celebrate pollinators! Yay, Pollinator Week! We can’t stop thinking about how much we appreciate them! At Treehouse Learning, we sing about them at Big Circle, we plant foods for them, we learn about them in our classrooms, and we spread the word about these critical critters we depend on for at least 1 out of every 3 bites of food we eat!
Across our program at Treehouse Learning, our relationship with pollinators has been an anchoring theme of our summer curriculum across classrooms, which includes learning about water, starting seeds, growing plants, and gardening, and of course celebrating all of the butterflies, bees, bats, and birds that sustain our food systems.
Celebrating Pollinators, and Planting our First Pollinator Garden
Pollinator Week also coincided with very exciting milestone in our ecological footprint, and the realization of a major business sustainability goal as well as a core tenant of our BIDES Values Framework. Recently, we removed 424 square feet of water-thirsty Kentucky Bluegrass lawn in front of the building and replaced the sprinklers with a drip irrigation system. We’ve been installing rain collection barrels all around our building too in order to harvest rainwater.
Even more exciting than the removal of grass, however, is that our River Summer Camp children (ages kindergarten- 3rd grade) have planted our first Pollinator Garden! Into the ground went over 120 native, pollinator-friendly and water-wise plants!
Take a look at the plant lists and see where else you can spot these familiar plants and flowers!
Empowering Children to Create a Better World
We could have outsourced the entire project to professional landscapers, but then we would have missed out on the joy and learning of the experience doing it ourselves. (Plus, we did get help with the turf removal!). None of us are professional landscapers, or even expert landscapers, and that is kind of the point! All of us can play a part and learn something new.
We value the gifts children received in learning the names of the plants, and the effort that went into creating a map of the planting area, not to mention the physical labor of digging in the dirt and introducing these plants into the soil of their new home. (We’re literally encouraging these beautiful plants to put down roots and stay a long while!)
Physical activity like planting a garden builds strong bodies and allows children to experience the gratification of hands-on, whole-person learning! Children thrive when they have the opportunity to feel empowered, and capable, and contribute to something of significance and meaning.
Treehouse Learning preschoolers and kindergartners helped create a garden that increases the biodiversity of our community and ecosystem by feeding pollinators. They also constructed a permanent fixture of our building and campus that will evolve as the plants get established and will remain as long as our building stands.
We love seeing the joy and pride the children experience in being leaders in our community in such an important way!
Our hope for a whole person/whole planet curriculum is that children leave our program rich in knowledge of the names of plants, trees, flowers, and birds and a perspective of custodial, caretaking stewardship for the land and living systems we’re part of.
We already know that children can recognize corporate logos and media characters, and our objective is to cultivate reciprocal kinship relationships with living ecosystems to move towards a regenerative future where our planet, and everything on it, thrives
Learning through Music, Movement, and Community: Celebrating Pollinators at Big Circle
We’re not just doing planting and gardening projects, or learning about pollinators through books either0 we’re also experiencing our appreciation for pollinators through our daily community celebration at Big Circle. Our newest Big Circle Song is about the things we appreciate about pollinators, which we sing in a call-and-response format incorporating movements and Brain Gyms.
At Treehouse Learning, we love to create joyful learning experiences involving music, movement, and community through kinesthetic learning. We do what we sing, and we sing what we do, and we learn as we singing, because celebrating pollinators as a school community truly feels like a celebration!
Butterfly lands upon the flower
Pollinating is a Superpower!
Drinks up nectar oh so sweet
Lands on another flower for another treat
Pollinators, You are Great!
We appreciate all you pollinate
You give us food to eat, and trees and flowers too
You make the world good for me and you
We’re going to plant yummy things to pollinate
Cause butterflies, bees, bats, and birds-
YOU ARE GREAT!
Want to take action to protect pollinators at home in Colorado?
We need pollinators! A world without pollinators would be a world without apples, blueberries, strawberries, chocolate, almonds, melons, peaches, or pumpkins.
But pollinators are in trouble… Bees, bats, and other animal pollinators face many existential challenges and threats, including habitat loss, the decline in biodiversity, disease, parasites, and environmental contaminants.
You don’t have to replace your entire front yard with a pollinator garden to help support the regional biodiversity of pollinators in our area!
Here are three simple family-friendly activities to do with children that not only help the pollinator population, but strengthen your relationships, and help children to cultivate a life-long relationship based on respect, appreciation, and reciprocity with the living and natural world.
Plant pollinator-friendly plants around where you live, whether in landscapes, garden beds, hanging baskets, or container gardens
Plant a vegetable garden with your children (if you need inspiration for small-scale container gardens, check out our preschool playground, or the kitchen herb garden in the back of our building by the chicken coops).
Hang a birdfeeder, fill with wild birdseed, and welcome all of the many visitors who come to partake!
Interested in replacing your own front lawn with a pollinator garden?
Our objectives with landscape projects involve divestment from water-thirsty green lawns, an aesthetic imported via colonization that works extremely well in rainy regions like England, but not so much in semi-arid desert climates like the American Southwest! We seek to plant native plant species adapted to this climate, who use less water and are more resilient to local climate conditions. We also seek to plant food for pollinators, whom we in turn depend on for the food we eat. And while we may just be a single business, we’re also a community comprised of hundreds of households. It is our hope to normalize non-grass front lawns, and model how to do this in a way that not only benefits the ecosystem and planet, but also engages our sense of awe, beauty, and wonder.
We hope to inspire you to replace your front lawn with a pollinator garden too- here are some resources to get you started!