Pollinator Garden Helps Set “Bloom Box” Record

NEBRASKA CITY – Nebraska City middle schoolers are breaking records and helping pollinators.

Elizabeth Dunn’s Pioneer Pride Time class wrote a grant to the Nebraska City Community Foundation to fund a pollinator garden.

Dunn: “The students want to do some tracking of the number of pollinators that they see, not just bees, but pollinators in general and our hope is to maybe be able to spread these throughout the community.”

Dunn said the “bloom box” program of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum is a big help.

Sarah Buckley of the statewide arboretum said 97 gardens are being planting this spring, which is a record for the bloom box program in its fourth year.

Buckley: “Honestly, this is successful right here. I have middle school students with their hands in the dirt, helping each other plant plants, learning what it takes to plant a garden – I’m happy right now. But I hope they send me pictures of the garden.”

Seventh grader Jack Hinkley and eighth grader Destiny Boardman are credited for getting the project to take root.

Hinkley said he proposed the idea because he heard pollinator numbers are dwindling.

Hinkley: “Bumble bees are the ones I am specifically worried about because, you know, honey bees are not native here so they are hurting the bumble bees.”

The Pioneer Construction Academy also contributed.

Connor Housh: “We have a bee hotel for the middle school in the new garden that they are making.”

The bee hotel is constructed of 30 diffferent pieces of wood drilled with holes suitable for bees and fit together under a roof.

Buckley said hotel guests will probably notice the dotted gay feather in the garden, which will have purple blooms on a plant that grows to shoulder high.