Last week all of the graduate students at the OSU Hermiston Experiment Station spent a day teaching local children about sustainable farming. The extension day called "Farmtastic!" included topics such as: nutrition, soil science, plant pathology, entomology, and aquatic entomology.
My section focused on the conservation of beneficial invertebrates including bees and spiders. The kids were very excited to see the preserved bees and spiders and even more excited to see some jumping spiders laying eggs! I also demonstrated how bees pollinate flowers and the children were able to plant some bee-friendly sunflowers.
The local newspaper ran an article about Farmtastic!, you can read the article below:
In the next set of photos you can see a before and after of the plots. The before is immediately after planting in September (following the dry season). The after photo shows growth in the plot after five months. Most of the growth is common weeds. We had a lot of problems with residual weeds in the plots. In several plots the weeds were several feet tall! To get rid of the weeds we mowed all of the plots twice this spring before the native plants germinated.
To read more about why I restored the field margins and some of the benefits you can visit my personal webpage here:
Lauren Smith is currently an assistant professor at Westfield State University researching the effect of grassland restoration on native bee and spider communities. Visit her website here.