A honey of a project


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May 26, 2016 12:00 AM

At J.H. Moore Elementary School, social activism comes early.
Carmen Peasley’s Grade 3-4 split class might be young, but its already trying to change the world by fighting against the colony collapse of bees with the planting of a bee garden in front of the Lashburn school.
“It just started as us learning about bees and the kids got really passionate about it, and when they learned about what was happening to the bees, they wanted to know how they could help,” said Peasley.
“So they did a bunch of research on ways we could help out with increasing the bee population, then they started making some plans.”
According to the National Pesticide Information Centre, in 2006 beekeepers began reporting high colony losses where the adult honeybees disappeared from the hives, almost all at the same time.
There were few, if any, dead bees found in or around the hives and the queen and immature bees were often found in the hives with plenty of food stores, but inadequately attended by a few adult bees.
Some of the things students found out when researching colony collapse were issues like monoculture, where humans plant vast fields of crops that don’t necessarily provide food for bees, and other problems like chemicals that protect crops but kill the little winged pollinators.
They also learned small ways to help, like leaving dandelions for the bees, and if spraying them is a must, to do it in the evening so the bees aren’t eating fresh chemicals.
As for the J.H. Moore bee garden, which will be having its ribbon-cutting on Friday, the students planted some flowers to attract the bees with shelters and fountains for them to get water.
“Another problem was there’s a large space between food sources for the bees, so often times they get too tired to fly back to their nest after they’ve collected the nectar, so they’ve (students) put some little bee houses for mason and leaf cutter bees in the garden as well,” said Peasley.
The whole initiative snowballed after Peasley started teaching her class about bees as a way to teach about habitats and different kinds of plants.
Once the information touched on colony collapse the students felt it was up to them to do something about it and started looking at ways to help.
The class then started researching flowers that bees like and purchased the seeds to plant in the garden.
“Then they found out that bees can’t land in bird baths without drowning, so they made a little water fountain with rocks that they can land on,” Peasely said.
The class also got some help from Syngenta Canada, an agriculture seeding and chemical company, as part of its Operation Pollinator program.
Peasley said the company understands the importance of bees as pollinators for agriculture and embraced the school’s mission to help out against colony collapse.
After hearing about the plans for the bee garden, Syngenta sent out an expert to talk to the students about bees and gave them some different seeds to plant.
The J.H. Moore Elementary School bee garden may be a small step, but big change starts at home.

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