2015 Auburn, California, USA
Antelope High School student Emma Forester partnered with Placer Land Trust to complete a project focused on increasing habitat for native pollinators. As Emma researched pollinators and the essential service they provide to agriculture and natural vegetation, she learned of issues and threats to their survival from habitat loss, pesticide use, and introduced diseases. She decided she could help by planting native species to increase pollinator habitat and with the help of Placer Land Trust, found a perfect location at Auburn School Park, adjacent to a community garden. By providing nectar sources to forage in, she would encourage bees and other pollinators to help pollinate the plants in the community garden. Her plantings would also help stabilize the slope next to the garden that was weedy and prone to erosion.
After clearing the weeds and prepping the area, Emma planted several pounds native flowering plant seeds. As she returned the following season, she saw that “the flowers bloomed beautifully and there were tons of little black bumble bees that are buzzing around!” After the initial seed planting, Caring for Our Watersheds project funds allowed Emma and volunteers to terrace
another slope and plant small shrubs and forbs there. Emma, with her dad’s help, built a kiosk to hold information about her pollinator project and other garden information. She also built a bee box for native burrowing bees like carpenter bees and bumble bees that will be mounted in a far corner of the garden where it won’t be disturbed.
As an extension to her project, Emma is working on both an educational pamphlet for the garden and a short awareness video that can be used by Placer Land Trust in their educational tours.