The goal of “Planting for Pollinators” project is to educate elementary school students about the importance of pollinators, while giving them an opportunity to engage with nature by planting a garden.

Five schools in the Kansas City metropolitan area were selected for this program, which was supported through a Keep America Beautiful/Lowe’s Community Partners Grant. Schools were able to select a garden design shaped like a caterpillar, a butterfly, or a flower ranging from 150 to 300 square feet. The gardens were prepped with Lowe’s Heroes volunteers as well as other volunteers.

Bridging The Gap/Keep Kansas City Beautiful then provided a visual presentation to students at each school to educate them about the importance of pollinators, the life cycle of a butterfly, the decline of the monarch, the connection native insects have to native plants, and ways they could help take care of their new garden.

Students then ventured outside to plant their garden. The day of education was effective for visual, auditory and hands-on learners. Each school was given a maintenance manual for the garden, flash cards for learning the plant species in their garden, interpretive signs describing the program, and plant identification tags. The administration was supportive of the program at all five schools, and the kids were excited to talk about insects, learn about native plants, and get their hands dirty while planting.