Our Pollinator Preservation Project is a large scale initiative created by the students in the garden program to make a positive impact on our local pollinator populations through education and habitat creation. The butterfly garden was the first large scale completed piece, although we have also taken steps to provide bee habitats in our edible garden as well as using uncultivated areas around our fruiting trees and raised beds for wildflowers. We also have a Bees and Basil Bed in the garden that we have allowed to grow untouched (basil flowers when not trimmed) and this along with the wildflowers, has encouraged our bee populations in the edible garden. The students and I spent some time observing the bees, photographing them, and talking about what they do. We also have been keeping track of the new basil plants that we have in the garden courtesy of our bees. We currently have at least 16 basil plants at all stages of development that we did not plant ourselves. We even have a couple new basil plants in other beds showing how seeds travel! The next step in our habitat creation will be the sister garden to the butterfly garden. The garden students are working on designing the space now and creating a budget for fundraising. Even though the stars of the garden will be the bees, they want to include a variety of plants that attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. We will definitely be including a mural as well, and the students have begun sketching a design that would show both nocturnal and diurnal world pollinators in action. They will be including benches and a path, along which we will be placing informational signs and pollinator conservation information. Our goal is to have this garden ready for viewing on the day of our 2nd annual Earth Day Festival on April 23. The students have already named this garden "Pollinator Paradise" !