This past Thursday and Friday we were excited to welcome Rockheights Middle Schoolers from Esquimalt for a Two-Day, One-Night Adventure. This enthusiastic group of grade eight students participated in a pilot of our new People, Plants, and Pollinators program followed by our established Forest Ecology Program.
Our pollinator program kicked off with an introduction to the Conservancy’s Forest Garden. This human-made ecosystem simulates a natural forest structure, providing habitat for many native pollinators and support for a variety of medicinal and edible plant species. The students enjoyed munching the plants on offer, learning that ox eye daisy buds are indeed edible, and that sheep sorrel has a tangy lemony taste. After filling their bellies, the kids learned about the fascinating variations in pollinator vision, got down and dirty planting flowers in the garden to attract a variety of polllinators and ran around mimicking the pollination process of bees. The day culminated in a visit to our hives, where students got up close and personal with our busy bees and tasted some delicious honey.
Friday found us up bright and early at the Learning Centre, creating seed bombs to bring home and establish new pollinator habitat. After this we were off on a trip to Pebble Beach where the kids engaged in teaching each other about forest processes. Along the way, we were lucky to reach the beach at its lowest tide of the year. This event provided a perfect excuse to explore the shore and the dozens of tide pools left behind by the retreating tide. A definite highlight of the day was finding Plainfin Midshipman fish. This remarkable fish normally dwells in the deep sea, but returns to the intertidal zone to mate. Named after their light-reflective photopores (spots that look similar to the buttons on a captain’s uniform), the males of this species create a low humming sound to attract mates. Though we did not hear this, the unusually low tide revealed many beautiful golden eggs and several adult fish.
A big thank-you to TD Friends of the Environment and the Hamber Foundation for their help with developing our People, Plants and Pollinators program.