Insect Hotels - What's The Buzz?
My name is Rhonda O'Grady and I am an Environmental Educator. I have been teaching children about nature since I myself was a child. The innate wonder children have for nature inspires me and their endless questions encourage me to continue learning about our remarkable natural world.
When I first laid eyes on an insect hotel, I was enchanted. They are purposefully beautiful. The natural shapes, textures and colours they produce are almost as attractive to me as they must be to the creepy crawly, buzzing wonders of the world they are created for. And as for kids, well, what's more fascinating than bugs? A bug Hotel, silly.
On Earth Day weekend, friends and family of the Valleycliffe Elementary Living Classroom were "busy as bees," planting, playing, learning, sharing and constructing their very own insect hotel.
Built using recycled natural materials such as: old pallets, dried grass, bricks, bamboo and sticks ─ insect hotels come in all shapes and sizes and cost close to nothing to craft, but are stuffed full of curricula and hands on learning for students of all ages.
"Where would a caterpillar feel safe transforming into a butterfly? Where would a ladybird beetle like to sleep all winter? If you were a tiny bee, where would you lay your precious eggs?"
Magic happens when children (or adults) work together creating something that aids other beings. They learn of need and tolerance and empathy. They begin to ponder the future of the planet and the interconnectedness of all things.
"So, building an insect hotel and planting pollinator friendly flowers for bugs actually helps people?"
Insect hotels have been used for centuries all around the world as a way to attract beneficial wild insect to farmland and gardens to pollinate and protect. Today, as pollinator populations decline, insect hotels are more important than ever.
"Life depends on the little things we take for granted."
One of every three bites we consume is courtesy of pollinators.
Einstein gave us four years of survival without bees.
There's no doubt, if the pollinators go they are taking us with them.
The SRWS's Pollinator Enhancement Project, which includes creating insect hotels, planting pollinator friendly gardens, restoring natural areas and educating our communities and schools about the plight of
pollinators is an incredibly important project for Squamish and well, the whole planet. It is something I am very proud and fortunate to "bee" a part of.
I live for getting a squeamish child to hold a worm or someone terrified of insects to watch with wonder, as a bumble bee gathers nectar. Beauty to me is watching a child who has never planted a plant revel in the joy of dirt and stewardship or beam with pride for growing an enormous sunflower from a tiny seed.
What they know, they will love. What they love, they will protect.
And I guess that's what it's all about ─ protecting that which is not just precious, but necessary for survival ─ like pollinators.
I'd like to thank the Squamish River Watershed Society for giving me this precious opportunity as well as, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and The Community Foundation of Whistler Environmental Legacy Fund for helping to make this essential project possible.
"Bee Awesome"; Valleycliffe Elementary Pollinator Enhancement Project - click to link to newsletter!