ST. ALBANS CITY – Walking into Geoff Pac’s second grade classroom at St. Albans City School (SACS) instantly sparks curiosity and wonder. A gentle chorus of buzzing can be heard as you approach the quilt covered observation bee hive. It’s hard not to lift the quilt and watch the hive at work behind the glass frame.
Three years ago Pac’s first- through third-grade team, Team Travelers, was awarded a grant from the Bee Cause Project. Team Travelers envisioned using bees to teach teamwork, communication and kindness. The grant included an observation bee hive, educational information, and funding for the purchase of a nucleus hive for the classroom. The mission of the Bee Cause Project is to empower students, teachers and community members to learn about the beauty, ingenuity, power and wonder of the honey bee. The educational material provided from the grant serves as an adjunct to STEAM education in the classroom and beyond.
Sadly, the bees outgrew their hive and swarmed that summer. The observation hive remained empty for the last two years as Farm to School and Stewardship Committee Staff at SACS worked with local beekeepers to reestablish a new hive. Lessons were learned about what is needed on a regular basis to keep a hive of bees content where they are. Our hive filled quickly with honey frames and the bees were very productive. We learned the frames needed to be changed out to accommodate growth and more room for honey and bee brood.
Bees are pollinating insects. They travel from flower to flower collecting pollen and return to the hive to begin the process of making honey. Honey frames are removed for processing for people to eat and other honey food frames are used to feed the bees when food is needed. The food we eat every day is dependent on pollination and the presence of pollinating insects, especially honey bees. We have many pollinator gardens at SACS brimming with flowers bees love. If you see our bees on campus please be respectful, observe them collecting pollen and given a little distance.
This year in connection with Grady’s Golden Goodness we have learned so much. Local beekeepers, Merrill Tittemore and Luke Howrigan, visited our school to evaluate the observation hive. They assessed needs for a new hive as well as a monitoring plan. We are benefiting from their expertise, consultation and assistance to manage a healthy hive.
The Traveler’s team and SACS are extremely grateful to Grady’s Golden Goodness, Mr. Tittemore and Mr. Howrigan for the kindness and generosity exhibited in making this project happen.
Our new bees are busy…every day. Our students and classroom visitors observe the bees working as a team–each of them having a specific job working in harmony to be productive. Each day brings an opportunity for new lessons from observing bees. Today: Bee Good, Bee Kind, Bee Generous.