From ‘bug stomper’ to ‘bug buddy’

Published 12:03 pm Friday, February 16, 2024

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At a recent Champions for Wildlife class, a first-grader was bragging about stomping bugs in his backyard. After the art lesson that focused on gathering pollen, students held some dead bees to look at them more closely.

Two weeks later, Champions for Wildlife returned to teach about the monarch butterfly migration to Mexico. While we were decorating butterflies to mail to a classroom in Mexico (part of a Symbolic Migration program), the same little bug-stomping boy came up and exclaimed, “I saved a bee!’ 

He then described seeing a bee drowning in their bird bath, so he scooped the bee up with his little hands and put it on the ground to dry. Then he placed a rock in the bird bath so the bees would have a place to land and not drown. This 7-year-old went from bug killer to bug buddy in two weeks!

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The more you learn, the more you love, the more you protect. Learning about the importance of pollinators and holding dead bugs changed this boy’s perception! Just one of the many cool things happening in Champion for Wildlife’s classes where so far it has taught over 3,900 kids in western North Carolina.

Champions for Wildlife celebrated its second anniversary in late January and have hit the ground buzzing in 2024. The nonprofit already has 68 classes scheduled this spring in Polk County’s four elementary schools and the middle school.

The Seeds in School program, in partnership with the Gardening for Life Project, is just wrapping up. This January and February, students studied moths and decorated native seed packs with these cool insects. If you are one of the 700 folks lucky enough to snag a ticket to the GFLP event on March 30 (all the tickets are already reserved), you will hear moth expert Jim McCormac speak and get a free seed packet.

Some students are also making brochures about the benefits of moths and will be on hand to distribute them at the event. 

To make all this magic happen, the nonprofit is hiring a second teacher. If you love nature and want to work with K-8th graders on wildlife and art projects, as well as manage volunteers and develop curriculum, check out the job description on Champions for Wildlife’s website.

Financial donations are also needed and welcomed as programming and art supplies are offered at no charge. Donations can be made online at Champions for Wildlife or sent to PO Box 128, Lynn, NC, 28750. To volunteer, which is really fun, visit


Submitted by Loti Woods