Seventh graders at Shady Side Academy Middle School recently completed the installation of a pollinator garden on campus as the culmination of a yearlong class project. The new garden is located next to the existing SSA Farm garden behind the Middle School building, and is filled with native perennials and student-made habitats to attract native pollinators.
The native pollinator garden project began in October, on Global Action Conference Day, when the seventh grade class learned about native pollinators from the Audubon Society of Western PA, then split into groups to research four native pollinators – butterflies, mason bees, bluebirds and bats. Students then got their hands dirty digging a plot of land on campus for the new garden.
The ongoing project was woven into to the seventh grade life science curriculum throughout the year. Students helped to design the garden, choosing perennial plants native to Western Pennsylvania and building habitats for native pollinators such as bluebird and bat houses and mason bee houses. Finally, in May, the students spent a day planting the perennials in the new garden and installing the houses they made.
Several faculty members guided students through the yearlong project, including social studies teacher Molly Braver '94, who coordinates Global Action Conference Day, and eighth grade science teacher John Matia, who assisted with the construction of the houses, and seventh grade science teacher Bonnie Maxwell, who helped with germinating and planting the plants.
Congratulations to the seventh grade class on the completion of the new garden!