RACINE, Wis. — Student Damarius Arthur helped lay the groundwork for a pollinator patch at Fratt Elementary School.
“I’m trying to dig the hole and put that [plant] inside of it so it can grow,” said Arthur, who was paired with his classmate Matthew Daniels.
It’s all a part of a program at the school looking to make a difference in the local environment and help feed endangered pollinators.
“It brings pollinators to grow plants and to grow food,” said Arthur as he worked on the patch.
“It’s where pollinators come to help our earth grow,” added Daniels.
Kristi Heuser is the Pollinator Patch Program manager for the Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network. She guided the students as they planted the pollinator patch.
“These plants are all native to Wisconsin. Many of them have very deep root systems, much deeper than turf grass, so putting these in the grass infiltrates more stormwater runoff, preventing it from getting into local rivers and Lake Michigan,” said Heuser.
Heuser said it’s important to get kids thinking about conservation and their local ecosystem early on.
“They are going to be the ones growing up and taking care of this in the future, so we are hoping that this concept will spread to their homes and throughout the watershed," said Heuser. "It will see a greater impact from an ecosystem perspective."
She said they are looking to bring more pollinator patches to southeast Wisconsin and get more kids involved at other schools.
“My favorite thing is being out on planting day with the kids. Many of them have never planted a plant before. It is their first experience, so talking about the roots and the soil and they all love the worms, which is always a highlight,” said Heuser. “Seeing how much fun they have. They never want to just plant one plant. They wanna keep going. That’s how we know it’s working.”
Arthur and Daniels said the experience provided one simple joy — planting and spending time with friends.
Heuser said she hopes this project gets students thinking more about their environment.