Pollinators are extremely important to our food systems. In fact, about 75% of all food crops grown in the United States depend on pollinators. Native Texas plants are vital habitat for many of these pollinators such as bees and monarchs. However, with increased development, pollinator habitat is decreasing. Pollinator gardens are a great solution. They provide small patches of native plants that are especially important for migratory species such as Monarchs which need to stop frequently between destinations.
Project Description & History
Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD’s Thomas Jefferson TSTEM Early College High School has established pollinator gardens on their campus to use as an educational tool for their students. They serve as an extension of the school’s classrooms and assist in educating the community on the importance that these gardens serve in the species rich location of South Texas. They also give an opportunity for students to go outside and study the animal diversity that the pollinator gardens attract. Students have also gone to other campuses to help elementary students start their own pollinator gardens, volunteered consecutively at Rio Reforestation with USFW, and have transplanted native cacti that were marked for removal because of the new border wall development. The gardens have even inspired students to start their own at home! In 2020, this project was awarded a grant from Native American Seed , allowing the project to obtain wildflower seed for further planting.
The students at Thomas Jefferson TSTEM have a greater understanding of the importance of native plants and pollinators but also enjoy how calming the gardens make them. On a busy day, they will pass through buildings and when outside they will witness a whirlwind of butterflies, a hummingbird, or other pollinators. Students have found an interest in habitat conservation through the gardens, and it inspires them to be responsible stewards of their environment.
Students at Thomas Jefferson TSTEM Early College High School