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When Clara Martin, a junior at South Whidbey High School, was thinking of a project for her environmental science class, she wanted more than just a good grade. She also wanted to make a difference.
After attending the Sound Waters Conference at her high school and hearing a speaker talk about the importance of helping native pollinators, Clara decided to plant a pollinator garden.
Pollinators such as insects, bees, butterflies, birds and bats are responsible for much of the food we eat, as well as countless flowers and plants. A dramatic worldwide decline in pollinator population is linked to shrinking habitat and overuse of pesticides.
“After doing a ton of research, I found out how much pollinator-friendly gardens benefit pollinators, especially the bees that are struggling,” Clara says. She wanted to demonstrate that it’s easy to help pollinators. Many of the plants she researched “are probably things people are growing already, and could easily plant more of.”
Clara contacted Maureen Murphy, owner of Bayview Farm & Garden, for donations of plants she researched. Bayview gladly provided items such as thyme, oregano, catmint and chives. Cultus Bay Nursery also donated plants to support the project.
Assisted by her little sister and avid gardeners Sharon Miller (Clara’s mom) and Cary Peterson, Clara planted the garden in about five hours at South Whidbey Academy.
“You were so generous and thoughtful with your donations,” Clara recently wrote to Maureen. “I couldn't have planted my garden without your help!” Not surprisingly, Clara carefully notes how many bees and other pollinators her garden is attracting. “I have already seen lots of pollinators visit!” she says.
Clara recommends the Xerces Society and Pollinator Partnership for resources related to protecting pollinators. Bayview Farm & Garden can also provide tips and plants for attracting pollinators year-round.
Well done, Clara! Your hard work sets a great example for us all!
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