Second-graders at Fairbanks Road School recently welcomed guest speaker and beekeeper Pat Bono, project director at NY Bee Wellness, to their classroom.
The students have been studying bees this semester and looked forward to learning more about the role honey bees play in pollination and food production. They wanted to know why there is a decrease in the honey bee population and what they can do to help.
Bono had talked with classes at Churchville-Chili Senior High School earlier that morning. Wildlife ecology students at CCSHS listened as Bono explained the life cycle and lifestyle of the honey bee; their vital importance as pollinators for fruits, nuts and vegetables; and the role of the beekeeper in supporting their health. She demonstrated hive set up, explained how the colony is handled and showed a glassed-in sample frame with bees, larvae, wax cells and honey.
The elementary school students were awed by the close-up look at working bees in the frame Bono shared. Questions included “Why do bees die after they sting?” “How do bees make new colonies?” “What kind of vegetables do bees pollinate?” “Why are bees having problems today?”
Fairbanks Road School classes will take the lead to create a pollinator-friendly environment at the school district’s learning garden located near the school on Fairbanks Road.
“When researching honey bee conservation, our students found that it is helpful to plant native perennial plants for pollination,” teacher Jamie Snook said. “They decided that the Churchville garden would make the perfect spot to help attract more honey bees.”
The second-graders will plan and plant a bee-buffet of nectar-filled flowers in the garden. Churchville-Chili Central School District is looking for volunteers to help care for the garden during the summer.
NY Bee Wellness educates beekeepers and the public on honey bees and provides resources to maintain healthy honey bee colonies. It provides workshops, education on honey bee disease and health issues and research.
For information, visit cccsd.org/garden or nybeewellness.org.