Crawly portraits

Last week during Garden Club at Blake Street school, I was at one of the garden mixing compost with a couple of the kids, while a few others were weeding a few feet away. Suddenly, the weeding crew started SCREAMING! My current garden club crew is, well, quite an excitable bunch. (Tons of enthusiasm and curiosity, but also lots of noise! 🙂 ) I walked over, and they showed me the bee they’d come across. It was hanging out in the soil, looking quite drowsy (maybe overwhelmed by the screaming it had suddenly encountered?). I calmly checked out the bee, told the kids I wasn’t sure what kind it was but was pretty sure it wasn’t a honey bee, and then went and got my camera to take a picture so I could try to identify it. I think my calmness calmed them down somewhat, and they were now more fascinated to look at the bee than to scream about it. DSCN4593 - cropped beeA friend e-mailed this pic to a friend of hers, a bee expert, who said it’s a male Andrena bee. As far as I know, they’re solitary, ground-dwelling and don’t sting (even the females, I think).

Since then, every time these kids see any sort of critter in the garden, they insist I take a picture. Today’s first contribution to the Crawly Portraits Gallery was a spider, which the kids were convinced was a tarantula, or if not that, at least a black widow. Well, it was about the size of my fingernail, and we live in Toronto, so probably neither of those. Cool looking furry critter, though.

DSCN4615And the last critter I had to take a picture of today was a grub. Due to the extreme excitement surrounding this critter, the picture’s a bit fuzzy, but I like how it looks like the grub is looking up at me quizzically. DSCN4621

Bugs are definitely something I’ve learned a lot about over the past few years of gardening and nature programming, but there’s so so much more I want to learn! The enthusiasm of these kids is pushing me towards that, and it’s fun learning with them and/or identifying the critters from my photos and then sharing that information with them the following week.

 

 

And just to finish off on a non-critter note, these same kiddos found not just one, but I think 3 four-leafed clovers in the garden today! Their teacher said she always sensed they were a lucky class. I’m hoping it’s a good sign for the gardening season to come…

DSCN4619

Happy growing!

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