On May 1, 2017, MMGYSTC Regional Coordinator, Erin Youmans, shared a pollinator garden challenge to area middle school students. Part of the Honey Bee Project Grant funded by GYSTC, Inc., the challenge involved students doing research on pollinator gardens and plants that would grow in our region.
Students were given a budget of $100 and had to submit a spreadsheet showing the types of plants that should be planted in the pollinator garden and the cost for each plant. The students also had to draw the garden to scale showing how much space each plant required. The proposal had to be submitted in a digital format.
This STEM project encompassed many areas of the middle school curriculum. The first place winners for this challenge was Savannah Reynolds, Millie Hooks, and Hollan Coleman. Their teacher, Deana Ryan, at Swainsboro Middle School received a $50 gift card from East Georgia State College’s Biology Department to spend on science supplies for their classroom. Other notable design entries were by Paul Warren and Samuel White; Micheal Cartwright, Mason Hall, and Keaton Seymour; and Jared Drake.
“We worked hard as a team to make sure the job got done, just like the bees and butterflies are going to do to pollinate the EGSC garden and other Emanuel County gardens,” said Savannah Reynolds, one of the members of the winning team.
“This project has allowed Swainsboro Middle School science students to solve real problems using math and science,” said Ryan. “They used math to determine the cost of all bedding needs within a budget and also to determine the area each plant would need to grow. In science, the researched bee pollinator plants native to this area, the reasons bee populations are declining and the possible implications if this decline doesn’t stop. Students enjoy creating, in groups, something that has the chance of truly being built.”
“I worked on the project together with Paul Warren, and our project earned third place,” said Samuel White. “Even so, we have learned a great deal and I am looking forward to seeing our garden at the EGSC campus. I have learned how to manage a workable budget, what pollinator plants are and the conditions for these plants to grow in Georgia. I have also learned how to scale gardens properly and how to deal with certain barriers and obstacles, such as having only partial sun, a tight budget and poor soil condition. We have also learned how to use conservation methods along the way. I am especially proud of our idea of collecting rain water and using it for irrigation.”
Plans are underway to begin the first pollinator garden based off the design of the first place winners. The garden will be located near the Sudie A. Fulford Community Learning Center on EGSC’s Swainsboro campus. Magnolia Midlands GYSTC (Georgia Youth Science and Technology Center) is located in the Fulford Center at EGSC.
MMGSYTC is part of GYSTC, Inc. which is dedicated to promoting student interest and achievement in science and mathematics and strives to provide quality programs for teachers of STEM subjects that improve the teaching and learning process at the kindergarten through eighth grade levels.
In 2016, EGSC became a Bee Campus and, as part of this commitment, they are devoted to raising awareness of pollinators through projects like these.