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Meet the Providers

February was Meet-the-Providers month. Enviroschools in the Greater Wellington region invited teachers to meet with local providers of environmental resources.
Because Cloak of Protection has had huge support from Wellington Enviroschools, I attended events in the Kapiti Coast, in the Hutt Valley, and in the Wairarapa.
Many teachers were very complimentary about Cloak of Protection, and were keen to have a look at Flight of Pollen, and to learn our plans for teaching it.
Here is a table of Kakariki Game goodies, laid out in Featherston.

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2 sides of a plum tree

There’s a reason why only one side of this plum tree has given fruit!

It’s a grafted tree. One side flowered first, the rain came, and the flowers were washed out. The other side flowered a day later, the sun came, the pollinators visited, and voila, months later, we’re all eating the large juicy plums.

Same tree. 2 sides. Differing result.

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Under the Story Tree

We’d love to see you under the Story Tree, says Tanya Batt, at Whakanewha Regional Park, for our January environmental storytelling programme.

Tanya and her cohorts were testers for Flight of Pollen. I’ve just done a quick trip back to Waiheke Island to play the finished game with her. There I was treated like a queen – even sleeping in her big red story bus!

The world of insects & other things that creep & leap; we’re going on a bug hunt; pollinator power; day wings, night sings; what’s the buzz; meet me under the story tree; creep, crawl – dance & sing

That’s the pollinator programme that will be under the story tree on Waiheke Island this January.

To make a booking email

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Flight of Pollen and the thirsty bumblebee

Here’s a message just in, from one of the Flight of Pollen pledgers.

Thank you so much for developing your beautiful game, Flight of Pollen.

I played it for the first time on the 24th November with my colleague Leanne and her husband. We had a lot of fun – though it took us a while to understand how to play! We found the videos quite helpful. Since then I’ve played it a second time with some children from Limehills School. Gosh! Kids catch on much quicker than adults! Amazing.

Thank you for the new instructions. I’ve read them and I think they are very good. We will definitely play again and I’ll let you know how it goes.

Today Leanne and I found an exhausted bumblebee on the ground outside our office. We took her inside and fed her some sugar water. We watched her drink the drops and celebrated as she gradually gained her strength, stretched her legs, groomed herself, wiggled her furry bottom, then flew out the window. Only afterwards did we realise that I had used your lovely note, delivered with the game, to rescue the little creature!

Many thanks, JiL. I think you’ve created something quite wonderful.

Best wishes

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Starting Flight of Pollen

can be confusing if you’re expecting to start a turn by rolling a dice! Because there isn’t one.
Instead, each round begins by turning over an element card. Here’s Shawn holding them up!
There’s a couple of ways, on this site, to help you begin
– you can post on the forum
– you can check in on our cheat-sheet (which I’m constantly updating)

Flight of Pollen Cheat-Sheet

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our native bees

Native bees come in three sizes. Small, very small and extremely small.

Last summer I was with my friend Gretchen at their community garden in North East Valley, Dunedin. Little black native bees were everywhere! I followed them as the sucked on flax petals (they were after nectar not pollen), and clustered around cabbage tree flowers.

Flighty and fly very fast, seldom settling on one flower for long.

As I observed our short-tongued native bees are generally better at pollinating native flowers, while the introduced honeybees and bumblebees were busy in other parts of the garden, pollinating the crop flowers.

The native bee is an important pollinator in Flight of Pollen, picking up and dropping off a load of three. In the game loads range from one (hoverfly) to eight (bat).

Aotearoa / New Zealand has 28 species of native bees. Most native bees are solitary. At the end of summer they dig holes in the ground, and there they lay a single egg in each cell. These eggs hatch in spring and feed on the nectar and pollen left for them, before emerging.

Quotes from Jay Iwasaki, a PhD student in the Departments of Botany and Zoology at the University of Otago.
In ‘New Zealand’s Smallest Bees’, Our Changing World, by Alison Ballance

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in Taupo

Cloak of Protection. Taupo library.
Friday 27 – Sunday 29 October. Friday morning was playing with environmental educators, Friday evening was the launch of Playing in Paradise lead by WonderWoman Jane Penton.

Jane and I have children (now adults) of the same age, and we’ve been friends ever since my daughter was one, and we were living in a caravan on a retreat centre (where I was studying), and it’d been raining for three days straight. . .and Jane picked us both up and has looked after us ever after.

Saturday afternoon was a game session at the Taupo library, ably organised by librarians Moira and Tracey. Big Thankyou to them! We had 20+ game players, and here’s a pic of two girls playing Cloak of Protection.

Sunday morning was a Flight of Pollen around the card table, with all the other people that wander into Jane’s life and home.

Then it was hot river – cold river – hot river – cold river, before home again home again jiggetty-jig.