Saving Bees Between Homework Assignments and Dance Lessons
Written By: Agata Gutkowska, JGI Canada volunteer
Category: Youth Power
Every day is Earth Day For Ontario Grade 11 student, Ashley Gellatly. She eats organic, shops locally and avoids products tested on animals. With help from her mom, she also takes care of a garden, growing organic fruits, vegetables, and flowers.
Last year, Ashley’s passion for nature led her to the Jane Goodall Institute, where she was one of 30 high school students chosen to participate in the Launch + Link Program. Each student was given one difficult task: to take on a 10-month project related to conservation. Ashley’s topic of choice: bees.
Ashley explains, “One in three bites you take have been pollinated by bees. Einstein predicted that if bees died, humans would have only four years to live.” Sadly, bees are dying — an increase in pesticide use and a decrease in habitat are causing bees to disappear in large numbers, threatening the existence of Earth’s fruits and vegetables.
"One in three bites you take have been pollinated by bees."
In between dance classes and homework assignments, Ashley is spreading awareness about the bee crisis and trying to increase the bee population. With approval from her mother, Ashley will be donating the use of her land to a beekeeper; she will be asking local greenhouses to promote the sale of bee-friendly
products; and she will be implementing a marketing campaign that encourages people to plant bee-friendly flowers. She is also writing a book about bees which she plans on bringing to the Launch + Link reunion.
When asked where she sees herself in 10 years, Ashley’s answer is surprising: “I want to be a pilot.” Much like the bee species she is trying to save, Ashley hopes to fly, doing search and rescue in remote villages and animal sanctuaries. She plans to get her pilot’s license in the summer.
Whatever she chooses to pursue, Ashley promises that it will be for the benefit of the environment. She says, “The Earth supports us every day, and we have to do our part to support the Earth.”
This Earth Day you can help the planet too, and you can start by helping the bees. Here’s how:
1. Plant flowers that attract bees (poppies, clovers, sunflowers, daisies, lavender, etc.)
2. Refrain from using pesticides in your garden
3. Create a bee bath in your garden
4. Buy organic fruits and vegetables
5. Buy local honey