Passion for Pollinators!
9 year-old Wildlife Gardener’s Passion for Pollinators Inspires Online Innovation
North America’s pollinator populations are declining…fast. Monarch populations have dropped by 90% over the past 20 years and native bees, birds and bats are facing severe threats as well. This is a problem when you consider one out of every three bites of food we eat is a direct result of pollinators, contributing $29 billion to America’s food production, according to a Cornell University study. Fortunately, people across the country are stepping up to get involved and plant for pollinators. Concerned citizens across the nation have made their feelings clear: Americans love pollinators and want to see them protected for the future health of wildlife and humans, alike.
One of these concerned citizens is 9 year old Kedar Narayan of Lower Nazareth Township, PA. With the help of Master Gardeners from the Penn State extension, Kedar developed a great passion for his pollinator buddies and the native plants that support them! Not only has Kedar created his own pollinator garden and certified it as a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat®, he also used the coding skills he learned at age 5 to develop a pollinator gardening mobile Android app to teach others to plant too!
When asked why he got into creating pollinator habitat, Kedar responded:
“Our pollinators are a big part of our ecosystem because they do something called pollination which is moving pollen from one flower to another. And without them we would not have our crops! And don’t forget- you have the Orchid Mason Bees and Honey Bees to thank for your yummy Apple juice!”
Kedar’s Pollinator Garden App
The app Kedar developed explains how to create a pollinator garden and the importance of replacing traditional lawns by creating pollinator habitats using native plants. The app has 91 native plants sorted by multiple criteria, covering the Mid-Atlantic region covering including NJ, NY, DE, MD, VA, DC. His app is built using a free block-based coding platform called Thunkable, and contains over 1000 lines of code! Kedar will be uploading the App to the Google Play Store and making it available for FREE to the general public.
Kedar has been recognized for his amazing app and for his work to protect pollinators. He was a finalist and received $2,500 in the Paradigm Challenge which recruits children across 173 countries to think out of the box to solve real world problems. He also received honorable mention in the Spark!Lab Invent It Challenge sponsored by the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History.
On October 16, 2017, Kedar was recognized as a Pollinator Youth Ambassador by the National Pollinator Garden Network for his efforts that encourage others to plant for pollinators and support the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge. A NPGN co-founder said, “Kedar is emblematic of many people his age who care about our natural world and are innovative in their ways to address pollinator losses. He embodies best qualities of the current and future visionaries who make up the National Pollinator Garden Network’s challenge participants.
Kedar is very proud of his own National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat®. He has made a large pollinator garden in his backyard, with 30 native species of pollinator friendly plants, where he can provide year-long treats to his pollinator buddies!
He continues to add to his garden and plans to add common milkweed, swamp rose and phlox over the fall! His habitat has two bird feeders and a bird bath. He is also working on another water source for insects.
He is always finding new ways to share his passion about his pollinator friends with his community.
- Conducted a native plant sale at a local Bethlehem, PA VegFest event with a grant from the Lehigh Gap Nature Center in PA.
- Speaks at events on his concerns that the waste produced by unnatural monoculture lawns, and the harmful effect they can have on the environment.
- Creating environmentally conscious art depicting meadows and butterflies made from dried plants and paints.
The work of dedicated citizens like Kedar demonstrates a nationwide commitment to pollinator protection. People love birds, bees, and butterflies and want to see these species around for generations to come. Kedar’s passion to show that “kids can solve real world problems with some imagination, perseverance and coding!” is an inspiration to children and adults alike who care not just about pollinators and the great outdoors, but about our country’s conservation legacy.