Lyle Middle School and the Giles French Park Pollinator Garden

Scott Kraynak
Park Ranger, John Day Lock and Dam

In celebration of Earth Day and in support of the National Pollinator Strategy, John Day – Willow Creek Park Rangers and Lyle Secondary School students created a large pollinator garden at Giles French Park, on the John Day-Willow Creek Project in Rufus, Oregon.

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Lyle Middle School Students spread seed to create the pollinator garden at Giles French Park.

The National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators was developed through a collaborative effort across the federal government. The strategy outlines a comprehensive approach to tackling and reducing the impact of multiple stressors on pollinator health, including pests and pathogens, reduced habitat, lack of nutritional resources and exposure to pesticides.

Building on the current state of the science, and with a renewed emphasis on expanding our understanding of the complex interactions among the various factors impacting pollinator health, the strategy lays out current and planned federal actions to achieve the following overarching goals:

  • Honey Bees: Reduce honey bee colony losses during winter (overwintering mortality) to no more than 15% within 10 years. This goal is informed by the previously released Bee Informed Partnership surveys and the newly established quarterly and annual surveys by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. Based on the robust data anticipated from the national, statistically-based NASS surveys of beekeepers, the Task Force will develop baseline data and additional goal metrics for winter, summer and total annual colony loss.
  • Monarch Butterflies: Increase the eastern population of the monarch butterfly to 225 million butterflies occupying an area of about 15 acres in the overwintering grounds in Mexico, through domestic/international actions and public-private partnerships, by 2020.
  • Pollinator Habitat Acreage: Restore or enhance 7 million acres of land for pollinators over the next five years through federal actions and public/private partnerships.

In preparation for the construction of the garden, I visited the class on April 15 to present an educational program to teach the kids about the importance of pollinators to our food supply and overall health of the environment, as well as the current threats to survival that pollinators are facing today.

Lyle Middle School students prep the ground at Giles French Park for the pollinator garden.

Lyle Middle School students prep the ground at Giles French Park for the pollinator garden.

During the program, the students invented their own pollinator species in order to highlight their understanding of how these plants and animals work together in order to help each other survive, as well as providing humans with much of the food that we need to live. Some of these drawings are shown on the right.

On April 21, the class came out to Giles French Park to help out these pollinators. Fourteen students, chaperones and park rangers worked together in order to create a brand new pollinator garden that will provide various pollinator species with much needed habitat.

The ground was prepped, native pollinator seed was spread, over 40 small shrubs were planted and a new pollinator garden was created. The class worked incredibly hard in creating this garden and were visibly excited to be helping out. Pollinator habitat is shrinking at alarming rates throughout the world, hopefully this garden will provide a little help along the Columbia River.

Lyle Middle School students drew picture sof the plants and insect species that would inhabit their pollinator garden:

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