Lower Canada College helping Bee’s
What do bees, butterflies and kids have in common?
Lower Canada College, that’s what.
It’s no secret that the world is in trouble ecologically, and that’s putting it mildly. We rely on bees and butterflies for a good 90 percent of our plant life, our food. A recent Greenpeace article states, “Without insect pollination, up to 75% of our crops would suffer some decrease in productivity. Undoubtedly, the most nutritious and interesting crops in our diet – including many key fruits and vegetables, together with some crops used as fodder in meat and dairy production – would be badly affected by a decline in insect pollinators; in particular, the production of apples, strawberries, tomatoes, and almonds would suffer.”
Whilst the pundits, politicians and arm chair ecologists jump in with their opinions, the students at LCC took matters into their own hands and got down and dirty last year hoping to make a difference. They created a beautiful flower garden with milkweed and sunflowers, along with other summer perennials to help attract the ever so important pollinators. (Was there ever a happier flower than a sunflower?)
Did this affect the students in any particular way? Has it left an impression on them?
“Just to think that this activity can bring beauty and wonder to our school and could change the way we live our lives.” Élan Martin-Prashad (age 12)
“I really liked gardening because it was fun to help out and help the butterflies.” Gianluca Pietrantonio (age 11)
Bees and butterflies weren’t the only colonies attracted to the garden – it also had a specific draw to the artist colony at LCC. The art students were recently invited to display their art work in the Alan Klinkhoff Gallery. Art is not taken lightly at the school. The students had recently studied Van Gogh, so planting sunflowers was a natural thing to do and gave them an opportunity to study them up close, visually and by touch. Under the watchful eye of their art teacher Ms.Tracy, they were then able to create their own interpretation of the flower and bring nature into the school rooms.
“It was great to be outside and to do art by looking at the sunflowers that my big sister planted. I did not realize that sunflowers could grow to be so tall!
Anja Martin-Prashad (age 9)
“Learning how to draw the shapes of the petals and leaves was really interesting!” Béatrice Beauger (age 8)
“It was fun to see the bees flying around the sunflowers and to learn about them and do art outside.” Karen Opolot (age 9)
The drawings were turned into relief prints, then recopied onto styrofoam printing plates. By printing them on different coloured paper they produced vibrant, colourful moments of nature, almost as good as the real thing.
The garden may be sleeping under the snow now but…it doesn’t end here for the students. Jean-François Maurice, the school social science teacher, is hoping to have the garden recognized with an official certification from monarchwatch.org. “This one project has brought together students from Junior, Middle and Senior Schools. It has served an environmental purpose as well as inspiration for our budding artists. What a success.”
If you are looking for a change for the better in the world – the way is through the children. Lower Canada College recognizes that and is setting the pace.
By: Sharman Yarnell – mtltimes.ca