Pollinator Paradise: Teacher putting stem money to use at Portal Elementary

Pollinator Paradise: Teacher putting stem money to use at Portal Elementary

PORTAL, Ga. (WTOC) - A teacher in Bulloch County won Conservation Teacher of the Year and she’s putting her lesson plans, and grant money, to use right away to help pollinators in a few months.

It’s painting time in Stephanie Hodges STEM classes at Portal Elementary. The purpose of painting is learning about pollinators.

“I think this project has the greatest impact because it’s a year long project and they’re so involved in all the different parts of it, it really sticks with them,” Hodges said.

It’s all part of Miss Hodges’ “Pollinator Paradise” proposal that won her the 2019 Conservation Teacher Grant of the year just after Thanksgiving.

“Being Conservation Teacher of the year gives me the opportunity to tell all of these kids how important it is to conserve, recycle, reuse, and we do that as much as we can,” she said.

Multiple grades are painting milkweeds, which is the life source for monarch butterflies - one of many pollinators.

“Bees butterflies and I think hummingbirds,” said student Paris Weinberger.

Paris does have her favorite.

“I love butterflies because they’re so pretty,” she said.

“The kids are excited about it, and I’m excited about it too,” said Hodges.

Annabelle loves Miss Hodges combo of learning.

“Science and bugs,” said student Annabelle Bailey.

This is a cross-curricular creativity for all the elementary school students. Some of the hands on projects are little more sophisticated, like the dioramas the fourth and fifth graders made - the Georgia DNR looked at that when deciding who would receive the award. Yet Miss Hodges remains humble.

“It’s not just me. Teachers working together, administrators working together," she said.

Hopefully by spring we can see the results of their hard work in the school garden.

“This is my heart and soul,” said Hodges.

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