In the Spring of 2019, Erin Youmans, Regional Coordinator for Magnolia Midlands GYSTC, located at East Georgia State College started a pollinator project. As a part of this project, Erin met with area middle school students to discuss the importance of pollinators. For participating in the project, Youmans presented each school with four trees that are also good pollinator plants. These plants were given as a partnership in this project by East Georgia State College’s Tree Campus USA committee. Students then participated in soil sampling, researching pollinator plants, creating budgets, drawing to scale, and design layouts for their own pollinator garden on their own school campus. One design was then chosen as the winner from each school and $100 worth of pollinator plants were planted by the students.
According to Youmans, “The objective of this project was to not only help students see the real impact of a pollinator garden but will also provide needed nutrition throughout the region for pollinators while getting students engaged in solving a real-world problem.”
Pollinator gardens have been planted at David Emanuel Academy, Wrens Middle School, South Tattnall Middle School, Metter Middle School, Langston Chapel Middle School, and in Pine Brook Nature Park in downtown Swainsboro.
“David Emanuel Academy was super excited about this partnership with Magnolia Midland's GYSTC. The kids loved the opportunity and were excited to be a part of the pollinator project from ground up. It was a wonderful learning experience that will continue to teach future generations as the garden continues to grow. We are looking forward to expanding our garden and involving more classes at DEA in the future. Thank you Magnolia Midlands for a wonderful experience and partnership," said Haylee Free, Head of School at David Emanuel Academy.
Added middle school science teacher Sara Youmans, “The students were really excited about the garden opportunity. They looked forward to going out and tending to it each day. They also learned a lot about planning and budgeting and ultimately enjoyed watching the bees and butterflies enjoy the garden. The kids are excited about returning from summer break and digging back in.”
Magnolia Midlands is proud to be a part of GYSTC. The Georgia Youth Science and Technology Centers (GYSTC), Inc. headquartered at Kennesaw State University, is a not-for-profit educational delivery and support system for promoting interest and enthusiasm in STEM to kindergarten through eighth-grade teachers and students in typically under served areas. GYSTC was founded in April, 1989 by local groups of government, education, business and corporate leaders. GYSTC operates across Georgia with a headquarter, ten regional centers, which are located at eight colleges/universities, two Regional Educational Service Agencies (RESAs) and an aquarium.