Inhabitants of Kingsessing, Philadelphia approached our class and a landscape architecture class, requesting a multi-component design system and toolkit devised to get community members interested in and invested in pollinators and environmental welfare. As this community faces many problems, including poor healthcare opportunities and violence, saving the bees and butterflies is hardly at the top of their priority list.
The basis for our solution is founded on highlighting an asset and positive component of the community rather than its problems, and the people who live in the Kingsessing neighborhood is one of them. We decided to focus on elementary school aged children and seniors, since senior populations face high rates of loneliness and depression, and pairing them with young children combats that.
Pollinator Pals is an after-school program inspired by the Scouts where children are the members, and seniors and teenagers who have outgrown the program are paid co-leaders.
Members complete pollinator-themed activities with senior leaders, such as going on a scavenger hunt, gathering flowers, and growing produce on their home porch. As children progress through the program and complete these activities, they earn badges to show their rank.
The program uses pollinators as a vehicle to join seniors and children together to facilitate companionship and educate children, the future of the community, about the importance of pollinators and environmental welfare.
Upon joining the program, members receive a box containing all of the supplies needed to complete the activities.
Members follow an all-inclusive activity guidebook when going through the program. The book includes detailed steps for all of the activities, with instructions divided in half for the children and the seniors helping them.
Some pages that accompany the activities, such as a section for flower pressing and a safari scavenger hunt list, are to be torn out for ease of portability when being used outside.
Pollinator Pals has a website, including general information about the program for the public, a sign-up page for children, and resources and a "profile" page for members.