CHILDREN’S HONEYBEE APPRECIATION CLASSES COMING TO FORT WAYNE
Fort Wayne beekeepers plan pollinator educational experiences (focusing on the honeybee) as a fun and informational way for the public to celebrate and save the bee population. This idea was brought about by the many community members who had asked various questions about honeybees, wanting a tour of the hives, and the general need for conservation themed programs in northeast Indiana. While area beekeeping associations hold beekeeping classes, these experiences will be focused on educating non-beekeepers of how the honeybee helps us, intricacies of the hive, what can be done at home to help pollinators and more fun, hands-on, exploratory topics!
Southwest Honey Co.’s programs will be run by a passionate beekeeper, Megan Ryan, who has a Master’s Degree in education and is excited to get to work spreading knowledge about the honeybees! Educational experiences are scheduled to begin in May 2016 and run through the fall, up to twice a week at The Southwest Conservation Club in Fort Wayne, Indiana. They will be offered to the public as an experience for a low per person ticket (or group) price, where young people, groups and families from the surrounding area can come to have fun and learn together.
Planned to be fun, hands-on, exploratory and educational!
Each student will:
– Be in a small class size.
– View a sealed observation hive with live bees inside (safe for all ages).
– Learn about how neat and helpful honeybees are to us!
– Learn about the life-cycle of the honeybee.
– Learn about how honey bees work together and communicate to keep their hive strong.
– Tour the prairie and learn about the plants honeybees like to pollinate.
– Learn about what can be done at home to help honeybees and pollinators.
– Sample what natural honey tastes like.
– Leave with a take-home packet of educational activities and resources for information covered during their experience (leveled by age group).
– *Optional/ Extra* Bee suit-up and experience a live working beehive in the apiary (offered for age appropriate groups only).
The educational experiences will also be open to all groups (Boy Scouts/ Girl Scouts, School Groups, After School/ Summer School Programs, Church Groups and more!). The program would also have the ability to travel (and bring a sealed observation hive with live bees) to give on-site educational experiences for birthday parties, special events and other fun occasions.
Southwest Honey Co. currently has a kickstarter.com fundraising campaign to raise a percentage of the associated start-up costs, but the program will be self sustaining afterwards. The goal amount to raise will go towards educational materials, sample beekeeping equipment, an observation hive, and some promotional materials. If the fundraising goal is exceeded, Southwest Honey Co. will use the funds to further the honeybee conservation efforts by purchasing more hives. It will also help extend the educational experiences into 2017 and beyond! No funds raised here are planned to go towards labor. They will donate all of their time to plan and start these programs, freely, to the honeybee cause!
Numerous home schooling groups and community members seeking more information regarding honeybees and pollinators have already approached Southwest Honey Co. They have asked for a chance to experience the apiaries first hand and many of their local honey consumers have sought out more details about the practices of safe and natural beekeeping. The public is eager to gather more knowledge about the honeybees. Southwest Honey Co. plans to cater to the requests of our community and provide these experiences and education for all those who are interested. So, with the public’s help Southwest Honey Co. can get these programs off the ground and running!
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Why Educational Experiences?
Education is the most effective way to spread positive change, open minds, and inspire young people who are responsible for the future of our community and the earth we live on. In the summer of 2016, we are planning a series of educational experiences that center around pollinators (honeybees), conservation, and beekeeping. These programs are incredibly important to our ecosystem and will shed light on the plight of the honeybees as well as educate the community on the importance of pollinators, beekeeping, and simple day-to-day conservation efforts that will support a healthy future for our world’s honeybees. We hope to bring young people out to spend time learning about the intricacies of the hives, the art of beekeeping, and the importance of conservation minded thinking and living. We will focus on educating children, but we will also expand our educational experiences to adults and seniors as well.
The Problem Our World and the Honeybees are Facing
Since the late 1990’s, beekeepers have noticed a decline in the honeybee population including high rates of collapse within colonies. Beekeepers have reported between 30-50% higher rates of hive loss. The declining bee population is a serious concern and issue facing humans globally. Pollinators have a great impact on food production, the balance of ecosystems, and the farming community. There is an awesome symbiotic relationship between these essential pollinators and food we enjoy every day. For beekeepers, this problem of a declining honeybee population is a constant worry and heartache. However, to the average community member, there is a lack of awareness in regards to the honeybees and the severity of their situation. Often times, the general public unknowingly uses harmful pesticides and treatments for their homes and lawns that hurt these struggling pollinators. Currently, there is a real lack of conservation minded programs in the Fort Wayne area that focus on pollinator education. There are no pollinator education programs within ninety (90) miles of Fort Wayne. This makes it very difficult for educators to find field trips and guest speakers for their science courses and in-field experiences. Adults who are interested in educating themselves on honeybees find themselves travelling long distances to reach programs that only run seasonally in other cities. The importance of solving these problems offers the chance to help others see the value and importance of these issues surrounding the pollinators and ways to help. These include ideas such as purchasing local honey and produce, and being conscious of daily habits that can be changed or amended to better help the environment in which they live and the honeybees they share it with.