By Jessica Orcutt
Education and Volunteer Programs Coordinator, The Rockwell Museum
This has been my first year participating in the Garden of Fire, and I could not be more excited that this summer’s theme is all about pollination! This is such an important thing to talk about, and Garden of Fire is a perfect opportunity to promote healthy and informed discussion between youth participants, staff and peers.
It is vital that the next generation is well-informed and passionate about protecting pollinating animals like bees, butterflies, bats and birds. As these creatures search for nectar, fruit, or other foods, they unknowingly contribute to the growth of all sorts of fruits and vegetables.
Without these animals, we would not be able to enjoy a lot of foods that are staples in our diets. Can you imagine life without corn, wheat, apples, blueberries, strawberries, grapes, pumpkins, tomatoes, vanilla, or sugar? The list of plants that rely on pollination is almost endless.
At The Rockwell Museum, youth participants had an opportunity to consider pollination in a personal and imaginative way. For our activity, youths thought about how our imaginations are like pollinators – spreading ideas among peers just like bees spread pollen among flowers. The fruit or vegetable that results from a pollinated plant is represented by our artistic creations!
After examining a couple of paintings in The Rockwell’s galleries, the group returned to the Museum’s Education Center to create our very own pollinators. Youth participants drew inspiration from real bees, bugs, and birds; and, created fictional, mythical creatures purely from their imaginations. These fantastical pollinators could be seen at 171 Cedar Arts Center for the final Garden of Fire Gathering on August 10, after which youth participants take their creations home with them!