Antelope High School student Melanie Mititelu has learned about the importance of native plants in providing habitat for local wildlife. She is especially concerned about the loss of habitat for pollinators, as we depend on them to pollinate most of our agricultural products. In many places, this necessary service of pollination is at risk from habitat loss, pesticide use, and introduced diseases. She decided she could help by planting native pollinator species in planter boxes adjacent to the school garden. By providing nectar sources to forage in, she would encourage bees and other pollinators to help pollinate the plants in their garden. Her pollinator garden will also serve as an educational tool for Environmental Science classes when they learn about the decline in honeybees and
the importance of pollinator conservation.
For her garden, Melanie chose plants that bloomed at different times throughout the year to provide a continuous food source for pollinators. She chose plants all native to California so that they would not require much irrigation or fertilizer. However, she did install an irrigation system to help these plants get established during the first few years.
In addition to providing particularly good habitat for pollinators next to the school garden, this native plant garden will be used to educate students and teachers at Antelope High School on the benefits of native plants, as well as botany and plant ID skills. Next year, they plan on adding interpretive signs that identify the native plants and explain their important role in agriculture and the environment.