On the Farm - The Bees Have Arrived!
For many months now, Springmont students have been busily preparing for the arrival of the bees. Toddler through Middle School students have enjoyed bee-themed art lessons, Elementary students have had numerous bee lessons and Middle School students have assisted with the preparation of the apiary and pollinator gardens - our school is buzzing with excitement! Our newest residents arrived last Wednesday and with that, just in time for Earth Day, Springmont took a step towards the protection of a species under threat.
How did we get bees? Springmont was the lucky recipient of a grant from The Bee Cause Project, an organization dedicated to providing children with opportunities to “understand, engage and learn from honey bees.” In addition to donating hives and the necessary equipment to 300 schools in 50 states and 4 countries, they also provided the funds to purchase our bees. Our bees were raised right here in Toccoa, GA!
What kind of bees do we have? Our bees were specially selected for their gentle nature, fertility, cleanliness and ability to build comb very quickly. Apis mellifera ligustica, or Italian bees, are smaller and lighter in color than other bees and are excellent foragers!
How will our students interact with and benefit from the presence of bees on campus? While the hives are located behind the animal enclosures which ensures they won’t bother us and that they won’t be bothered, students of all ages can observe the bees foraging and going about their daily lives. Springmont has invested in heavy-duty bee suits for Elementary and Middle School students who, after appropriate lessons, will be able to observe the hive up close and conduct hive inspections under supervision. Students who don’t want to get that close will be able to help build hive equipment, maintain the apiary and pollinator gardens, and eventually, with any luck, harvest some honey.
Did you know that there are 8 different types of bees on the endangered list? While the honey bee is not one of them, students routinely ask, “What can we do to help the bees?” The answer is quite simple - go plant some flowers! If we all committed to just one planter of flowers, imagine the difference we could make! If you have a Lower Elementary student, please ask them what they know about bees. I think you’ll be surprised by their knowledge!
See you outside!