Mount Allison students Madeleine Crowell, Jasmine Hunter, and Mesha Sagram received a 1,000 dollar grant from Grassroots to start a pollinator garden on campus. The grant is going towards the supplies they will need to make the garden—labour, tools, compost, and plants. The garden is planned be located near the King Streets parking lot.
The pollinator garden project started when the three Mt. A students took an environmental activism class with geography professor, Dr. Bradley Walters. Sagram was already part of a group on campus called Edible Ethics, which promotes organic food, local food, and conscious consumers, and the three students wanted to do a project that tied in with Edible Ethics.
“The garden is a pollinator garden, so it would mostly be [for] bees, but it also includes butterflies, birds, bats, beetles,” said Crowell. “It is a way to provide habitats for them.”
Pollinators are considered to be keystone species in the world’s ecosystems and without the many pollinator species, the ecosystem as a whole would collapse. Pollinators help maintain balance in nature and are vital for sustaining healthy ecosystems.
“This is a global issue that is happening everywhere. Bees are on a decline, generally, based on human effects such as pesticides and the fact that the climate is changing,” Crowell continued; explaining, “the bees cannot handle these stresses, and they are dying off or are not able to pollinate as effectively as they used to.”
Hunter said the best way for Sackville locals to make a difference in terms of pollination is to keep some lawn areas un-mowed and stop using pesticides in their gardens and yards. Pesticides can be very harmful and deadly to pollinators, who will later alight on the sprayed plants and ingest tainted nectar or pollen. If pesticides must be used, use fast-acting, short-residual options. It is suggested to use small amounts, applied on specific spots, and only applied after sundown, when most pollinators are not active.
Pollination is key to the food industry as well. Practically everything is connected to pollination in some way, from the grains that are self-pollinated or wind pollinated to animal products such as beef, pork, and dairy. “Every third bite of food you eat is pollinated,” Hunter said.
As for the course itself, it was a hands-on class that created projects, plans them, and then puts them into action.
“It was a really loose course,” Crowell said. “We all grouped together, and we had an issue and we created a project around it,” she explained.
Other environmental activism projects that developed out of the course and were popular around Sackville were ‘Ban Shark Fin Soup’ and ‘Ban Plastic Bags’ campaigns.
The students hope the garden will maintain itself as much as possible, but they are still looking for volunteers.