Page 3 A proposal was submitted, detailing a plan of action with steps to be taken and events planned throughout the year. The proposal was a collaborative effort between Bars-bee Club Co-chairs Hope Stewart and Cowen Ingalls and Teacher-Sponsor Janet Nelson. The Bars-bee Club proposal included how the school was going to follow through and honour the plan throughout the year and on certain days eg. Earth Day. Some of these steps include: • A commitment to creating awareness within the school and community; • Earth Day garden clean up event; • A commitment to educate elementary students at Georgia Avenue about the importance of bees and pollinators; and • Promote keeping our gardens alive and helping our environment. Stewart was inspired to action after attending a recent Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Event in Tacoma, Washington. It was there, she met a peer who had started a bee school. Stewart thought this was an attainable goal, as it was one small step that can have a big impact. She has always had a general awareness and caring about the environment, but it seemed like such a big subject. Where do you start? What is the one thing that could be done? Not surprisingly, the initiative has gained momentum. There are currently 15 team members who are implementing the initiatives at Georgia Avenue and approximately 11 more interested this semester. The initiative is creating a spark at both schools; staff and students are interested to see how they can help. John Barsby Grade 8 Leadership students are asking questions, teachers are becoming involved and it’s generating a lot of interest with adults and students alike. At Georgia Avenue, senior students are teaching the younger generation about the importance of pollinators to our community and more specifically our world. With the worldwide decline in bee populations, the timing couldn’t be better. Diminishing natural habitats and pesticides are causing great concern for the bee population. With natural habitats for bees diminishing, gardens can become a haven to help rebuild bee populations. Here are some things you can do to help keep pollinators alive and active in your community. • Plant a bee friendly garden with bee-friendly plants that bloom at various times throughout the year • Plant a variety of flower colours, shapes and sizes • Keep your garden active • Cluster flowers together in patches • Plant in sunny areas with some protection from wind • Choose native and non-hybrid varieties of plants Nelson said, “The answer is actually a beautiful solution – having more gardens around with flowers blooming. The piece to remember is keeping a healthy garden using no pesticides. Also, planting different flowers that come in season at different times is key in keeping the pollinators fed throughout the various seasons.” Spring plans for the Bars-bee Club includes the main restoration of the garden, Seedy Sunday, movie night and hopefully the addition of Mason Bee houses around the school grounds. Mason bees are the primary pollinator of fruit and trees in North America and are critical for crop production. Stewart said, “The more people we have talked to, the more people have jumped on board. This is becoming a community project – it’s perfect for our community school. It will naturally expand as more people become involved. Hopefully we’ll inspire other schools to get involved. Although, we’re the first school, we certainly don’t want to be the last.”