Grantee: Emerson Waldorf School – Chapel Hill, NC
Project Title: Emerson Farm Pollinator and Beekeeping Garden
With a Captain Planet Foundation Small Grant, Emerson Farm was able to complete, connect, and expand a piece of their program that has been missing – the Beekeeping and Pollinator Garden. As an educational garden, based on the work of Rudolf Steiner, they believe it is essential for students to understand that the food we eat is a result of pollination – and that as keepers of the garden, we must invite and encourage pollinator species.
The garden began with a flow form fountain created during a community workshop. The parts of the fountain were formed and then sat, unused, as the rest of the farm flourished around it. During that time, bees became a part of the farm with a seasoned beekeeper tending to the hives and teaching the students. When the beekeeper decided to move on, they brought in many interested volunteers from the school community to fill the gap. The CPF grant allowed them to finish the flow form fountain, installed a solar panel to power it, and train two volunteers in beekeeping. The pollinator garden that surrounds the fountain was a natural extension of these elements.
They designed the garden as a beautiful focal point that still allows students to get up close to the fountain to put their fingers in the water and explore the nature that abounds. As their 3rd and 8th grade students turned the soil and planted, they felt an ownership and connection to the plants they planted. Many students still remember the name of “their” plant. Students of all ages love to explore the fountain, sending leaf boats down its stream and looking for frogs, toads, or one of their resident black snakes. The pollinator garden draws the children in and welcomes them deeper into the teachings of nature.