Planting pollination plots

HURON – Fourth-graders are learning about the importance of pollination and wildlife habitat this week as they planted yet another pollinator plot in the Huron area.
Four years ago, Allison Fenske began heading what has become an annual exercise for kids as part of the Heartland Region chapter of Pheasants Forever.
She’s now a junior at Iowa State University in Ames and president of the school’s Pheasants Forever chapter.
Washington and Holy Trinity fourth-graders participated in this year’s plot, on the rural Huron property of Allison’s parents, Marc and Ann Fenske.
A pollinator initiative was established by Pheasants Forever four years ago when the monarch butterfly population began declining.
“Really, the pollinator habitat is good for all wildlife, so for them to be able to help out the monarchs they’re also helping the pheasants, the deer, the quail, all of the bird species, the bees and anything like that,” Fenske said.
“The kids come out and they plant,” she said. “It’s usually three to four acres in a pollinator plot. They take the seed and they spread it around and hope we hit the whole plot. That’s the goal.”
The mix of wildflowers and clover will come up in about a year.
“It’s designed to have something blooming the whole year, the whole growing season,” said Marc Fenske.
Signs are erected at each pollinator plot that include the names of the kids and the sponsors. Kids can bring their parents out to show them what they did and what they learned about pollinators.
The kids also participated in other learning activities, including one on habitat, predator prey and the importance of cover for wildlife such as pheasants. They also learned how devastating it would be without pollinators.
A reminder of the pollinator exercise will stay with them long after the day in the country.
Each fourth-grader made his or her own pollinator seed ball.
“Basically we take potting soil and roll it in the seed that we used out here today, and then they’ll get to take it home and plant their own pollinator plot at home,” she said.

Fourth-grade students from Holy Trinity and the Washington 4-5 Learning Center scatter seeds to help establish a pollination plot Wednesday afternoon. The activity is part of a Pheasants Unlimited project begun by Alison Fenske of Huron, and a student at Iowa State University.

Next, Ann Fenske assists a student in gathering seeds, which were formed into a ball to take home.

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