Bee-ing environmentally conscious
In an effort to address climate change, Stafford Hamlet resident Carol Yamada created a scavenger hunt that raises awareness about pollinators to youth in the community.
"I decided as my 'do something' to help climate change, I'd plant flowers for bees," Yamada said. "When I realized how important this is, and the special impact the Hamlet and West Linn, a bee city, can have because of our large lots and commitment to the environment — we can really keep our bees healthy — I decided as one activity to sponsor a kids contest."
The pollinator scavenger hunt, which kicked off July 2, is designed for children in kindergarten through fifth grade in the West Linn-Wilsonville and Lake Oswego School Districts.
To participate, youth will need to plant a flower for a pollinator and make a bee bath — a basin that's shallowly filled with water and stones — and provide photographic evidence. Youth will also need to photograph four pollinators: two bees, one being a bumble bee, a butterfly and a moth.
"Moths are overlooked as pollinators," she said. "They come out at night and people aren't around. Certain flowers need moths. They bloom at night and that's when they get pollinated."
After the photographs are submitted, the children are entered into a drawing for prizes including gift certificates, butterfly habitats, bee houses and hummingbird feeders. Everyone will receive a Jr. Entomologist certificate for participating.
"It's basically like a science family project. … Most kids can't go out and get a plant and plant it, so it's going to take some cooperation between generations," Yamada said.
Last winter, as Yamada was reading about the negative impacts of climate change on the environment, she decided she wanted to do something to help. She researched and learned more about bees and wanted to invest more in native plants to attract pollinators.
"It's a place where people can do a lot of good. Wilsonville and West Linn are both bee cities and they doing amazing stuff to help bees," she said. "This is my secret way to get everybody to plant flowers. People that don't have yards, you can also put a hummingbird plant on your patio."
So far, Yamada has tried to spread the word about the scavenger hunt through posters, pollinator events, farmers markets and word of mouth, but said it's hard to gain momentum for a new event.
Yamada said anyone can participate and that the photos don't have to be prize-winning gems.
"Doesn't even have to be totally in focus … because those things move," she said. "I'm not going to be picky about what you submit. It's not a photo contest; it's a scavenger hunt."
For those who might be scared or allergic to bees, Yamada said she will accept drawings of the bees if children don't want to get close enough for a photograph — though she said it's unlikely children will get stung from bumble bees or native bees.
Prizes can be collected at the Stafford Family Fest Sept. 14 at Fiala Farms in West Linn or picked up at the farm anytime before it closes at the end of October.