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For Project Group this week, we all took part in the Wild Pollinator Count. The Wild Pollinator Count is a civic science project. Here’s a quick explanation from their website:
“The Wild Pollinator Count gives you an opportunity to contribute to wild insect pollinator conservation in Australia. We invite you to count wild pollinators in your local environment and help us build a database on wild pollinator activity.”
Sounds pretty wonderful, hey? The kids and I often observe and chat about the insects in our kitchen garden and when a friend mentioned the Wild Pollinator Count, I wondered whether Jack and Sarah had thought too much about the relationship between plants and insects. I knew they knew that bees were pollinators, but what about other insects? And here was a wonderful opportunity to look more closely at this incredibly important symbiotic relationship.
There are six children in our Project Group aged 3,5,5,7,7 and 8. We meet once a week for about an hour and a half. There are three parents in the group and we rotate who facilitates the session. This week was my week.
I started our Project Group talking with the kids about the pollination process. These parts of a flower cards are from Montessori Print Shop. I then invited the children to identify some of the parts on this flower puzzle.
The kids were all keen to dissect their own flowers and see if they could find all of the different parts. Pansy made great specimens; they flower prolifically in our garden and the reproductive parts are easy to find. The kids were able to see most of the parts with a magnifying glass. We also used our microscope (which is really fantastic and I highly recommend it) to take a look at some of the finer details of the anthers and stigma.
And lastly before we headed out, we talked about different kinds of pollinators. I really wish I could share their discussions with you; they are so rich and fascinating. They bounce ideas of each other, one person’s response will inspire another to contribute, they talk over each other with enthusiasm at times and other times, listen very carefully. It’s wonderful.
Then with clipboards in hand, they headed outside to count pollinators. For the Wild Pollination Count, you have to choose a plant and observe that plant for 10 minutes; recording each pollinator that lands on your plant.
And after 10 mintutes, here’s what Sarah recorded 🙂
The Wild Pollinator Count runs until the 17th of April, so you still have a few more days to get out in the garden and take part. There is plenty of information on their website. We’ll be sending in our research tomorrow. And if you’re not in Australia, why not get out into the garden anyway? 🙂 We’ve learnt so much about our garden just from 10 minutes of quietly observing.