NEW ROADS, La. — Fourth, fifth and sixth graders throughout central Louisiana are learning why it’s important to protect pollinators as part of an LSU AgCenter program.
Students in 10 parishes have been studying six lessons related to pollinators.
“We hope it makes them better stewards of the land once they understand the importance of the pollinators,” said Esther Boe, AgCenter 4-H coordinator for central Louisiana.
Most of the parishes have completed the program, which started earlier this year and will end on May 31, she said.
The students are studying pollination, parts of a flower, the life cycle of a butterfly, bee habitats, plants that attract pollinators and dangers to bees.
“Since we live in an agricultural state, we want the students to understand how important it is to keep pollinators healthy,” she said. “Students need to realize how the work of pollinators affect our lives every day.”
Boe said the activity that holds the students’ interest most is building bee “hotels.” This is easily done with bamboo or other materials the pollinators can use to lay their eggs.
“We like to use the bamboo because it’s easy to find, and it seems natural to the pollinators,” she said. “They lay their eggs inside the bamboo, then seal the end with mud.”
Boe said pollinators actually pollinate flowers by accident. What they are doing on the plants is collecting nectar for food. In the process, the pollen sticks to their bodies and is transferred to other plants as they move around.
Boe said she hopes to expand the program with the help of a grant that she applied for from the Bayer Corporation.
“This is a $5,000 grant, and we hope to buy a beehive so we can show the students what is actually happening inside,” she said.