Coal Point Public School plants 650th seedling as part of native bee pollinator sanctuary | photos | video

COAL Point Public School has hosted another mass planting of seedlings around its new native bee pollinator sanctuary.

Students were joined by Lake Macquarie Landcare volunteers, and Lake Macquarie Garden Club members for the planting on Thursday, ahead of World Tree Day on Sunday.

The school already boasts a range of environmentally sustainable initiatives.

These include vegetable gardens, recycling and composting programs, a worm farm, native tree plantings and a squirrel glider habitat.

But the native bee pollinator sanctuary has taken the school's garden to the next level.

"Over 650 seedlings have been planted as part of this project," principal Kim Creswell said.

The project is supported by Lake Macquarie City Council through its Environmental Sustainability Grants program. Local businesses have also played a major role.

The school now harvests rainwater on site to water its plants thanks to two slimline water tanks donated by Coast and Country Water Tanks, Morisset.

"And Oz Landscape Supplies has taken away all of our green waste for free," Ms Creswell said.

A hive of stingless native bees has been installed in the school grounds.

Students attended a native bee educational workshop delivered by visiting expert Dr Tobias Smith, and the school community has taken part in two working bees to clear neglected garden areas and re-plant them with seedlings chosen to attract, feed and shelter native pollinating insects, birds and animals. (It turns out the native bees are particularly fond of plants with blue flowers.)

Ms Creswell said students had embraced the buzzing new arrivals.

"We held a happy bee day where the children dressed up as pollinators, and we created a bee-themed school artwork," she said.

The school's once-modest vegetable patch had also received a significant boost, she said.

A Woolworths Junior Landcare grant funded the installation of two purpose-built raised garden beds and a selection of vegetable seeds.

"Volunteers at a working bee prepared and paved the area for the new garden beds," Ms Creswell said.

"The beds have been filled with hay, mushroom compost purchased with grant funds, along with donated horse manure and soil from Lake Macquarie City Council."

Parent Elizabeth Addis praised the project and said: "The vegetable garden and pollinator sanctuaries have become outdoor living classrooms where teachers can lead students in activities that relate back to key learning areas such as science, maths, geography and arts."

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