A Bellevue 9-year-old's designed a winning home that will benefit the bees, bats and plants at the Girl Scout Camp at St. Albans.
The Girl Scout Camp at St. Albans in Belfair has a new pollinator condo -- a structure to house bees and other creatures that help pollinate plants -- after a contest sponsored by the Girl Scouts of Western Washington and the Native Bee Conservancy.
Ellen Schneider said her daughter, Lilly, a junior Girl Scout, designed the winning condo because the contest fits two of the 9-year-old's interests: bats, which are important pollinators, and architectural design. For fun, Lilly once designed a house without stairs for ghosts, because ghosts can fly.
Pollinators are critters, including bees and bats, that move pollen from one flower to another, an important part of the life cycle for plants, vegetables and fruits.
“Pollinators are bats, bees, and some types of frogs, butterflies and ladybugs,” Lilly said.
"They’re good for the environment and they help plants grow," Lilly said.
According to the Native Bee Conservancy, native bees are being threatened by the loss of their natural habitat by construction and pesticides, which makes providing safe homes for pollinators so important.
And because Lilly is so fond of bats, she wanted to make sure her design had a home for them as well. That is why her design is 6-feet-tall and has space for two bat boxes. Lilly picked the style, drew her design and colored it in in 90 minutes.
On Saturday, Aug. 11, the Girl Scouts of Western Washington and the Native Bee Conservancy unveiled the new pollinator condo at Girl Scout Camp St. Albans built from Lilly's design.
The result is a six-foot tall condo with features to make bees and bats comfortable, including boards for carpenter bees, driftwood and straw for bats' and bees' nests and flowerpots where the pollinators can take shelter.
Lilly said that people can design their own pollinator habitats and build them in their backyards to help bees. She said she is willing to help her own family design a pollinator condo in their backyard.
When the Girl Scout director called Lilly to tell her that her design won, “it was so surprising,” said Lilly. “I just thought it’s one of those contest things that billions of people enter, but no one wins,” she said.
For more information about pollinator habitats, visit the Native Bee Conservancy’s website.