St. Mary has been an ECO School since 2015, when we achieved a Silver status. At that time, we had not even looked at the Schoolyard Greening section of this application. The next year we made an active effort at achieving Gold Status, focusing on our Schoolyard Greening efforts. Since 2016, we have added outdoor classrooms, bird nesting boxes and planted trees. Additionally, our school and the community has had an ever increasing awareness of how “small steps can make a big difference” and our impact on our world. This year, our ECO Team is striving for Platinum and we are looking at new ways to improve our outdoor space from both an environmental viewpoint as well as a wonderful learning space/experience for our students. Becoming a Bee School seems a natural fit for our philosophy, not to mention in keeping with the fact that King Township iCanada’s ninth Bee City.
St. Mary will establish a locally native pollinator garden at the school. They will take steps to ensure all requirements are considered to include: Propose best location on school grounds for the garden, Source indigenous pollinator plants and other requirements to build the garden, determine cost of preparing garden and fundraise for materials (including presenting to parent council for potential donation), prepare timeline for the installation of the garden, determine maintenance requirement of the garden, generate interest from parent community to assist with the project (those with specific expertise) and any other considerations.
St. Mary staff is exceptional at promoting healthy environments, whether it be mental health, physical health or our natural environment. The initial education piece is to make the entire school aware of our goal (through an assembly). The staff will promote the necessity of bees in our environment and how we at St. Mary can help in this regard. We’ll also ensure that our parent community understands that a bee pollinator garden should not pose an increased risk to those students with a bee allergy as the garden will not be in the students “recess area”. Increased awareness can be generated through posters, parent communication, school newsletter and announcements.