East Lake School gets new pollinator friendly gardens

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    East Lake School Grade 9 student Amy Zezulka helps her Kindergarten partner Maya Abdullah plant a tree in the new pollinator friendly gardens behind the school Sept. 28. Photo by Jeremy Broadfield

    Chestermere took another step to welcome pollinating insects to the city with the planting of a new garden behind East Lake School Sept. 28.
    “The idea was to build something here that would bring the bees and butterflies and all the pollinators,” said Chestermere Parks Department Gardening Lead Hand Alison Ciupa.
    The new gardens were planted as part of the Bee City initiative and in partnership with East Lake School.
    Kindergarten and Grade 9 students joined City Parks staff to plant the new garden.
    “It’s all about building that connection with the students,” said East Lake School Teacher Angela Bain who was the school’s organizer for the event.
    The project tied into both the kindergarten curriculum of connecting to the community and the Grade 9 legacy project to beautify public spaces.
    With the success of this project, Bain hopes to be able to work with the city on more gardens like this in the city.
    “We would love to do a public garden,” said Bain.
    For her part, Ciupa said it was good to work with the students to give them an understanding of what it takes to create a garden like this.
    In the new garden, the city has provided flowering trees and shrubs that will flower from spring until the first frost.
    “The kids will be able to come out here for years and witness that,” she said.
    Not only will the students be able to watch as the gardens flourish, they will also get to see as the pollinating bugs move in and make the garden their home.
    Local Beekeeper Preston Pouteaux said that by planting the gardens at East Lake School, the city staff and school volunteers have created an ideal habitat for pollinating insects.
    “These are spaces that bumble bees and solitary bees and bugs of all different kinds can find places to live,” he said
    It will take a few years for the spaces to be established as healthy growing environments for the bugs though.
    As one of the driver behind the Bee City initiative in Chestermere, Pouteaux said the collaboration between the City Parks Department and East Lake School is a great example of how Bee City can bring the community together.
    Bee City has always been meant to be more than just a top down project to help pollinators in Chestermere.
    “Everybody with a back yard, everybody who cares about green spaces…all pitch in and say how do we plant more trees, how do we plant more bushes how do we care for these spaces,” he said.