On April 18, just ahead of Earth Day, seniors pursuing their sustainability graduation distinction hosted a final product session. They presented work highlighting the benefits of pollinating insects to humanity and the ecosystem at large, articulated the threats faced by those insects tied to human activity, and suggested ways people can help.
Heather Frisch '23 was on hand to explain her research, which focused on bees. We asked her to discuss her work.
Why are pollinators important, and what risks do they face from human activity?
Pollinators are responsible for thousands of the foods we eat. Plants like blueberries, broccoli--really any flowering foods rely on them for existence. Additionally, they pollinate our trees, which provide the very oxygen we breathe. Humans are detrimental to the existence of bees. From the use of dangerous pesticides to habitat loss from urbanization, bee populations are declining yearly.
What can be done to protect or help pollinators?
There are so many options, but one thing people can do at home is plant wildflowers. Wildflowers, especially in more developed areas, provide bees a safe habitat that they have adapted to over hundreds of years. From nesting sites to nectar, they are essential to their survival.
How did you approach this project, and what do you hope it will achieve?
After writing one of my distinction reports on the bee crisis, I realized just how detrimental it would be if they disappeared and wanted to take action. I approached my project looking for concrete solutions. I hope that people will take home the seed packets passed out during the presentation and plant them to begin taking action at home.
What has been the most eye-opening thing you've learned in the course of your work?
How little an individual can do. Yes, eliminating the use of pesticides and planting gardens are essential steps to saving bees. But ultimately, the real change needs to come from the governments and large corporations that harm bees and the environment on a large scale.
Why was choosing the Sustainability Distinction important to you?
While I don't believe I will be studying environmental science in college, choosing a distinction in sustainability has given me the opportunity to dive deep into the environmental problems that face our world so I can continue out of high school as a well-informed adult.
- graduation distinction
- upper school