Seeds to Grow

BY AMANDA MOSES

The Spring Creek Recreational Fund’s (SCRF) Urban Garden Classroom (UGC) is blooming with an assortment of flowers! As the cool air gently ushers in the fall season, the late blossoms are a beautiful addition to the lush garden and they serve a greater purpose—attracting pollinators.

In October, Roytman will reintroduce the children to the garden by reading two stories, The Reason for a Flower by Ruth Heller and Flower Garden Novel by Eve Bunting. In addition, Roytman is filming segments in the UGC, where she showcases various plants and details which ones attract specific pollinators for her virtual lessons.

Her Seeds to Grow class focuses on how to identify common pollinators, discover why different pollinators are attracted to distinct types of flowers, and sharpen the students observational skills. Although bees are the best-known and most widespread pollinators, other kinds of animals, including wasps, beetles, flies, butterflies, moths, birds, and bats act as pollinators for various kinds of flowers,” Roytman said.

It’s important to understand the many kinds of pollinators as each one has adapted a special ability to detect certain plants. “For example, a pollinator may have an adaptation that allows it to detect the colors or scents of a certain flower, so it’s able to recognize it as a valuable source of nectar and pollen. Another type of pollinator may have evolved special structures, such as an extra- long tongue, so it can reach the nectar deep inside a tubular bloom,” Roytman said.

The students will learn how these special adaptations create a Darwinist advantage, allowing the pollinators with the best abilities to survive and produce more evolved offspring. Flowers also evolve and some compete for a pollinator’s attention by enticing them with the scent of their nectar and pollen.

“The amazing diversity of flowers results from their unique adaptations to lure a range of pollinators (or to ensure that wind or, more rarely, water carries pollen). Every aspect of a flower, from the designs on its petals to the timing of its bloom, is vital to its pollination strategy,” Roytman said.

Students will identify the pollinators and draw them in their garden journals.

Photos by Jacqui Roytman