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Celebrate Arbor Day and National Pollinator Month

planting a seedling
Photo courtesy Project Plant It!

With spring in full bloom, it’s a great time for students to learn more about pollinators and the plant life they help to sustain. You may already have your calendar marked for  Arbor Day on April 30 and  National Pollinator Month in June.

Pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths and bats, play an essential role in supporting our nation's food system and the sustainability of our environment. Bees, in particular, are vital to the pollination of many fruits, nuts and vegetables that we enjoy on a daily basis. However, the  number of bees is declining due to factors such as pesticides and loss of habitat.

An environmental education initiative created by Dominion Energy, Project Plant It! has added new instructional resources on pollinators to their Tree Toolbox. On the Educator Resources page, you will find a  Pollinator Toolbox that includes a variety of instructional tools, plus five downloadable lesson plans in English and Spanish.

Here are some of the highlights:
The Buzz About Bees teaches students about the life cycle of bees and their important role in our ecosystem.

A Pollinator Tasting Party gives students a taste of many of the foods that rely on pollinators.

The Pollinator Scavenger Hunt teaches students about the diverse array of pollinators that live in their communities.

Planting and Caring for a Pollinator Garden provides hands-on experience about creating a garden that attracts bees and other pollinators.

The website also includes a  Tree Toolbox of resources about the many benefits of trees, including  STEM-based lesson plans and interactive games, and more.

"Bees love redbud blossoms, so our tree program and our pollinator program work well together," said Shai West, Project Plant It! Coordinator.

By planting pollinator gardens at home, on school grounds, or in other places in their communities, students can learn about the benefits trees and pollinators offer to our ecosystem. In this  video of a Girl Scout Troop learning about tree planting, you can see how much they enjoy learning about science in such a direct, hands-on way.

Celebrate Arbor Day on April 30, National Wildflower Week from May 3-9, and National Pollinator Month in June by planting trees and wildflowers. You’ll not just beautify your yard, but also help our environment.