Over the past months, member schools across the continent received biodynamic pollinator seed packets generously donated by Turtle Tree Seed. With these seeds, Waldorf schools are creating either brand new pollination gardens or strengthening existing ones for their schools and communities. In addition to these gardens, many schools are taking up beekeeping programs in support of caretaking and nurturing the lives of the honeybees.
The Waldorf School of Atlanta reports that they have recently been certified by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) as a Wildlife Habitat site, joining over 217,000 Certified Wildlife Habitat gardens across the United States, encompassing more than 2.5 million acres that support wildlife locally. Through their robust gardening program, students actively engage in creating a pollinator-friendly campus. The Waldorf School of Atlanta has hosted a few hives over the years, and this spring, the school will introduce a permanent beehive into their garden, welcoming the learning opportunities that this new endeavor will bring.
The Portland Waldorf School has wholeheartedly embraced having bees on campus, receiving an indoor observation beehive as part of a pay-it-forward program through the Bee Cause Project, sponsored by the Whole Foods Whole Kids Foundation. In honor of Waldorf100, PWS teachers plan to enhance the area around the rooftop beehives, which includes an artesian spring outdoor gathering space, with more pollinator plants, biodynamic herbs plants and a bee/flower mural. This will be the third pollinator forage area created on campus and will be tended by high school students each spring and fall during their LivingLAB class time.
As essential as these pollinator friendly practices are for the garden to attract pollinators to fruit and vegetables, The Waldorf School of Bend additionally notes that it is even more important for the Central Oregon ecosystem. Central Oregon has both long, cold winters and dry, hot summers which don't lead to giving pollinators many of the plants they need. Bend Waldorf School’s garden is in an urban area, so it provides an oasis for children and pollinators from the natural harsh conditions as well as the building-heavy environment.Like so many other Waldorf schools, at Bend, they teach their students about the importance of not using chemical spray and to leave some "weeds" in the garden at school and at home for the pollinators, as those plants are often the first to bloom. Through the careful, conscious planting and tending of their garden, it has thrived for the pollinators, while also serving to bring their community together as a whole.
Turtle Tree’s biodynamic pollinator seeds were also recently planted at Summerfield Waldorf School and Farm, a school that includes a 12-acre certified biodynamic farm. Summerfield’s perennial and annual pollinator gardens provide habitat for native bees, butterflies and other predatory insects that help keep their pest population down. In Summerfield’s production fields, after a crop has passed, they intentionally allow it to flower to provide nectar for their bees and native pollinators. They also provide habitat for honeybees. Students, from kindergarten to high school, work and tend to the garden and farm, creating lifelong connections with one another and with the soil and nature around them
As springtime swings into full bloom and winter’s snow melts away, we look forward to sharing with you more stories and updates from member schools about their pollinator garden and beekeeping programs.
- Nature and Environment