Bristol Elementary gets pollinator garden

THE URBAN FAMILY spent a sweltering day this summer installing the new pollinator garden at Bristol Elementary School.

BRISTOL — Bristol Elementary School (BES) now boasts a pollinator garden on its campus. It took a village to create a natural space for Bristol children to explore. Parents, inspired by the joy their children experienced during the school’s Forest Days, wanted to build on it. Thus the pollinator garden idea was born. Parents and school administration began meeting to remove hurdles to students being outdoors. The focus of the effort became:
•  Outdoor classroom space to facilitate classroom-based learning outdoors
•  Natural playscape to encourage engaging with and observing the natural world
•  Water management during the spring thaw and freeze cycles
During a training session, Four Winds, a community based natural science education organization, announced a mini-grant program to improve area schools. A pollinator garden was the most achievable project to increase the diversity of the playground landscape without adding much maintenance overhead. Four Winds agreed and BES was awarded the grant.
While the beloved playground boasts a vast flat area with many play structures there is not much natural diversity. The goal of the project was to re-wild the playground and celebrate seasonality with an ever-changing display of flowers and foliage made of native plants. The project would establish a naturalized island to promote native plants and pollinators, as well as cultivate creative play. The students can watch the garden evolve, watch the insects, birds, and other life that thrives there, and to be a part of it themselves.
Local vendors provided plants, soil, mulch, time and other materials, either as donations or at a favorable price. 

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