CMS and other schools across New York State are participating in the “Battle of the Bees,” an effort sponsored by Monolith Solar to provide habitat for the world’s dwindling numbers of bees by planting wildflower gardens. Through this earth-friendly “Take Action” project in 7th grade English language arts, students have been learning about environmental topics and researching soil, plants, recycling and more while working in teams to design gardens that support bees.
At CMS, each team submitted a scale drawing of their idea for the perfect bee garden and then the students voted on which design they wanted to see built. Congratulations to 7th graders Hannah Pinto, Ryley Dikeman, Noah Hutchinson, Danyelle Clark, and Amelia Scheriff for their winning “Chatham Footprint” design.
“We based it off of the ecological footprint we wanted to leave in Chatham with the garden,” explained Noah Hutchinson. Representing a pair of feet, their garden is split into two areas ringed by fencing and zebra grass, with wildflowers and open earth within to create habitat for bees that live in the ground. They also included recycling and compost areas, a sprinkler system to water the plants, and two benches where visitors can sit and enjoy the garden.
As their winner, the 7th grade sent the Chatham Footprint design to Monolith Solar in Rensselaer, where it will be planted this spring and judged against other schools’ gardens for a chance to win $5,000 for CMS. The winner will be announced later in the year.
The project also involves students taking action steps to shed light on the importance of bees and the crops they pollinate by writing letters to the public or creating informative posters.
“Students have cared about this project in a way I haven’t seen before,” said 7th grade ELA teacher Michelle Debye-Saxinger.