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Students create bee boat with help from Powell River Garden Club

Pollination project part of School District 47 landed learning gardening program
GARDEN INITIATIVE: Henderson Elementary School grade three and four students, along with Powell River Garden Club members, have converted a donated canoe into a refuge for pollination, near the gardens the students have planted at the school as part of the Landed Learning program.

Powell River Garden Club, in collaboration with School District 47 Landed Learning program students from Henderson Elementary School, have created a bee boat to help pollination.

According to garden club president Lesley Moseley, as a year of the garden initiative, the garden was planted in a canoe generously donated by John and Patty Catcher. The Landed Learning program came up with the idea of the bee boat and asked the garden club if it would like to become involved in the project.

“The class planted the canoe with plants, many donated by the garden club, that attract pollinators,” said Moseley. “The raised bed gardens the students and their garden friends have been nurturing since last October will now have beneficial insects living in the bee boat, attracted by the food and shelter it provides.”

Moseley said the students also gave the garden gnome visiting the bee boat his name.

“They compiled an enthusiastic list of creative names, from which they happily chose Gnomeo,” said Moseley. “Gnomeo took some time out from his sojourn at Madrona Boutique on Marine Avenue to meet his Landed Learning friends at the school and have his picture taken with them and the bee boat.”

Vanessa Sparrow, coordinator for the school district’s food literacy program, who coordinates all of the school gardens, said one grade three and four class per school per year works with volunteers, working through an entire year of growing activities.

She said as part of this year’s program, the pollinator boat was planted for pollinator month, which is June.

She said as part of the Landed Learning program, the students have garden beds they look after, and the produce created from those beds is used for food preparation purposes with the students.

Sparrow said she starts in a school in September, going through until November, and then there is a winter break.

“We come back in February and we plan our gardens, we make garden maps, then we come outside and start our planting,” said Sparrow. “We do a whole growing season and the idea is to get enough food growing in the garden beds.

“Just before school finishes, we are going to harvest everything we can from the garden and we are going to make a big harvest salad, bake some bread and have a nice harvest meal. It’s an amazing program.”

As for the bee boat, Sparrow said it was great to have the canoe donated, and the garden club kindly donated the plants.

“The idea was we would collaborate as a year of the garden project,” said Sparrow. “The garden club has been an amazing supporter of the Landed Learning program.”

Moseley said at Powell River Garden Club’s request, mayor Dave Formosa proclaimed 2022 as the year of the garden here in Powell River, thereby joining with many communities across Canada in celebrating more than 100 years of commercial and residential horticulture.

“We recognize and celebrate the significant role that gardens played in providing us with a welcome distraction, entertainment, exercise and solace during times of so many restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Moseley. “Home gardens have helped us to remain resilient, positive and healthy during some very dark and dismal times.”

Moseley added that a group of garden club members formed a make Powell River bloom committee, whose mandate is to reach out to retailers along Marine Avenue to encourage them to create colourful floral displays outside of their businesses to brighten up downtown.

Those who participate receive an “I’m a bloomin’ hero” poster to display in their window and receive the honour of hosting Gnomeo the garden gnome for a week.

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