Young Environmentalist Spreads Awareness About Pollinators
Kenneth Miller may only be 8 years old, but he is already becoming a strong voice for pollinators across the world.
For his third year, Kenneth has participated in Protect Our Pollinators’ poster challenge to celebrate National Pollinator Week, which ran from June 17 through 23.
According to Protect Our Pollinators, the group “is a nonprofit organization devoted to education and the conservation of pollinators and their habitats” whose mission is to save endangered pollinators through education and action.
The poster challenge included submissions from local children who are passionate about pollinators. Each artist’s work was hung up in a special gallery exhibit in the C.H. Booth Library’s Meeting Room during the month of June.
In addition to Kenneth, participants that had their work on display were Madison Moore, 9; Madeline Damon, 5; Raven Bennett, 8; Lia Battaglia, 8; Olivia Donigan, 6; Ruby Bateman, 9; Ainsley Irwin, 5; Trace Irwin, 9; the Ormision family, with Eleanor, 3 ½, Dominick, 5, and Stella, 7; Alison Zhang, 7; Arianna Tersigi-Bjugan, 8; Kaitlyn Moore, 7; and Ben Prince, 6.
Kenneth’s journey learning about the importance of pollinators started when he was just 6 years old and saw a flyer promoting the slogan “Save the bees!”
He took the initiative to begin educating himself about different kinds of pollinators and would share what he learned with his family.
Kenneth encouraged his mom to start gardening with him, and the two have grown their green thumbs together to create five mini gardens at home. Each garden has a different theme to attract a variety of pollinators, and some of the seeds they used this season have come from the C.H. Booth Library’s Seed Bank.
Recently, the mother and son duo have started planting marigolds, because Kenneth found that “They attract the bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, but they keep away the bad bugs that will try to kill the plants, like aphids.”
They also do not use any pesticides in their gardens and instead opt to pull weeds out manually and use natural pest repellents, like vinegar, that will not harm pollinators.
Kenneth’s mother, Christine Miller, says that she is impressed with how self-motivated her son is to learn about these important creatures. She especially enjoys seeing how he beams when sharing his findings with her.
“I’m definitely learning a lot from Ken,” Ms Miller said. “I feel proud of him. He cares about the planet, the environment. He gets very excited when he sees bees or butterflies in our yard and out in other places. He understands the importance of them.”
Kenneth even got practice gardening for pollinators at school when he participated in Sandy Hook Elementary School’s garden, led by Math/Science Specialist Kris Feda.
“I was at school and there was a sign that said we could skip recess and help the school garden, so I went into the raffle and was picked as one of the kids,” Kenneth explained. “I got to do it, and it was really fun. Then me and my mom signed up for the summer program [for it].”
While Kenneth continues to garden to do his part to support local pollinators, he also wants to encourage others to do the same.
“I wish people would look up what is good to use in the garden and what is not,” Kenneth said, because every person has the ability to make a positive difference.
This year, he created two pieces of art for the Protect Our Pollinators’ poster challenge: one that depicts a Monarch butterfly on a flower with the words “Thank you, butterfly” and another showing a bumblebee with the phrase “Don’t be a buzzkill.” The latter, Kenneth says, is his personal favorite.
Along with eye-catching pictures, Kenneth penned a detailed poem about how each pollinator impacts the food we eat.
“My poem this year was all about different pollinators,” Kenneth said. “We went online to find a bunch of them, like the blue tailed gecko. My favorite is the midge fly. The reason it is my favorite is because it pollinates the cocoa tree.”
While Kenneth says he felt “kind of nervous” having his artwork up for all to see, he wanted to do it to help the pollinators and hopefully inspire others.
Kenneth and his mother want to thank the Protect Our Pollinators group for the work they do, Sandy Hook Elementary School for having the gardening opportunity, The Newtown Bee for having its office be a collection site for the National Pollinator Week poster challenge, and the C.H. Booth Library for its Seed Bank and for hosting the poster artwork during the month of June.
For more information about Protect Our Pollinators, visit propollinators.org.
By Kenneth Miller
You might be afraid of the sting of the bumblebee, but without him there would be no apples on your tree!
Butterflies are not just pretty, you see, without them there would be no fruits for you and me.
Hummingbirds are tiny pollinators who live near and far, they weigh less than a nickel and fly fast as a car!
The midge fly lives in the tropics where it’s very hot. I’ve never met him, but he’s a friend of mine, because he pollinates cocoa trees and chocolate is divine!
The black and white lemur comes from Madagascar. He’s the biggest pollinator, which makes him distinct. The sad part is he’s becoming extinct.
The honey possum is a mouse sized marsupial from Australia who’s one cool operator. He lives on nectar, which makes him a pollinator.
Blue tailed day gecko lives on an island in the Indian Ocean. He’s a lizard who moves pollen like potion.
Bats are from all over the world and deserve gratitude. They take the night shift with a positive attitude!
Pollinators are important in keeping us alive, without them humans cannot survive!
For all that they are worth, please protect our pollinators all over the earth!
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