This past week was very busy as we prepared Fi for a presentation at a virtual conference that she was invited to attend. Last year at a Roots and Shoots event in Atlanta, one of the many groups that Fi got to meet was the Roots and Shoots Católica Ponce group from Puerto Rico! She enjoyed telling them about her project with solitary bees and was thrilled when they thought of her and invited her to be a presenter during their Pollinator's Week Virtual Conference.
We discussed what she'd like to talk to conference attendees about and we landed on some facts about solitary bees, a pollinator paradise demo, and a DIY bee house demo.
We created a power point presentation using some of her favorite pictures from the past year and a half of doing conservation projects just to show everyone the types of projects she does and how easy they are to replicate in case anyone is intimidated by the idea of conservation as a whole.
One thing that stuck with me the most from the Atlanta event was when a man that brought his 5 year old up to our table to let Fi tell them about her project and he and his daughter stayed engaged throughout Fi's presentation and then he commented that her project was the first time that day that they'd seen something they felt was actually manageable for them to do while still creating an impact on the environment around them. I thought that was the best compliment and I totally understood what he was talking about. When we first walked into the building to set up our table and I realized we were next to the World Wildlife Fund and other equally prestigious non profits, I was completely baffled as to how my 6 year old's project had been chosen to display. It just goes to show you that you never know when you can make an impact so don't shy away from opportunities just because you feel small.
So...back to our regularly scheduled program...the day before the conference, Fi was asked to make a short promotional video which she was more than happy to do of course and I'll post it down below.
Fi practiced every day all week on her power point to make sure she was comfortable speaking and did a great job with it the day of her presentation!
When creating our portable pollinator paradise, we take various things into consideration but of course we like to make it look pretty too! Before we put the soil in, we like to recycle our empty plastic bottles by placing them in the bottom of the pot as it also saves on the cost of soil!
To accomplish the "make it pretty" goal, we generally use a technique called Thriller, Filler, Spiller that her Grandmother in Rhode Island who is a whiz with all things "planty" taught her. The thriller is the plant that is tall and eye-catching and in this case we used Lantana, which is a perennial meaning it will come back the next year, which are very pretty and are a mix of red, orange, and yellow buds and enjoy full sun. You may recall that the color yellow is a bee favorite along with purple and blue. The spiller is the plant that looks like its attempting to escape from the pot and was Purselane which is an annual that loves full sun too. The filler is equally as important and we chose yellow zinnias which are also a bee favorite in our yard as well as another full sun loving plant.
While they demonstrated how to make a beautiful pollinator paradise, Fi also chatted about the importance of always having a water source handy for the pollinators to drink their fill.
After they finished up the pollinator paradise, Fi moved onto the last demo.
Although you can easily buy a bee house from Crown bee, Lowes, etc, it's also a fun craft that you can at home and there is a blog post about it here if you're interested in trying it at home!
Fi really enjoyed speaking about her projects and loved that people asked her multiple questions so that she got to interact with attendees more! She can't wait to see where her pollinator projects take her next!