Background: Domingo Treviño Middle School of La Joya ISD in Mission, Texas is home to over 800 students. In the fall of 2018, the students of Ms. Martha Villegas de Oliver’s special education class came together to learn and raise awareness about pollinators by creating a native plant pollinator garden on their school campus.
Project: There are two main objectives for the pollinator garden project: to protect native pollinators by augmenting habitat, and to develop the functional skills of Ms. Oliver’s special ed students. Students, their parents, and faculty collaborated to create the garden, which includes native nectar-producing plants and hummingbird feeders to provide food for passing wildlife.
Restoration: Thanks to donations from parents, the class was able to purchase native plants and the necessary supplies to install the garden. This small-scale habitat project is important because it helps offset the decline in pollinator populations due to habitat loss, spread of invasive plants, and pesticide use. Gardens such as this provide essential refueling stops for migrating pollinators such as Monarch butterflies and Rufous and Ruby-Throated hummingbirds, and year-round habitat for other native insects and birds.
Community Impact: By creating a pollinator garden on their own school campus, the students at Treviño MS will have easy access to native wildlife as pollinators and other animals visit the garden. Ms. Oliver and her students hope to inspire others to use native plants in their own landscaping to attract and protect pollinators. Along with installing the garden, the class has been learning about the impact of pollinators on the ecosystem and creating posters and other content to raise awareness throughout the school.
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