Students construct safe havens for pollinators

Submitted by Lucy Marinkovich and Satchel Bourne.

We are at that time in our lives where it is our responsibility as juniors of Friday Harbor High School to work on a community project and give back to the island that has supported us our whole lives. Ms. Wilson has been guiding the class of community projects this year. Satchel Bourne and I, Lucy Marinkovich, studied mason bees, and worked on creating bee hotels for them to live in around the island.

We have been constructing bee hotels/houses to provide local bees with a safe place to live and store their eggs. We distributed these bee hotels to local groups such as the San Juan County Conservation Land Bank and the community garden and placed them next to plants that need pollination. In return, both the plants and the bees will benefit. Solitary bees like mason bees don’t live with a hive, and bee hotels are a great way to help them by providing ready-made shelter in gardens and areas with lots of vegetation. We hope that if our project is successful we will be able to provide our community with many more bees every year to help keep the local flora thriving, as well as sustain the local bee population by giving them a safe place to live. We want to give back to our community in any way we can and this is how we have decided to do that. We also spent time learning about the local bee population and bees in general, and we realized just how essential they are for all of us.

We are going to be giving one of these hotels to the community garden across from FHHS to help the garden here in town get more pollinators. The other bee boxes will be going to the Land Bank at a few different locations across the island. We will be putting one at the Land Bank office in town, as well as the Salish Seed Nursery and the Zylstra Lake Preserve. We hope to help these sites we have chosen by bringing the bees to them and creating a place for the plant life and bees to flourish.

We want to especially acknowledge Thor Hanson for being our mentor throughout this project from start to finish. Thor contributed his time and knowledge, as well as shared his passion for bees with us. We are both really grateful to have been lucky enough to work with somebody as helpful and inspiring as he is. As this project comes to an end, so does our school year, and we are so grateful to have a bit more knowledge under our belts as we prepare for our senior year.