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Why Schools are Sweet on Honey Bees

By Carly Price, June 16, 2013  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Carly Price

BeesAs a growing number of schools embrace gardening, honey bees are generating the latest educational buzz.

The humble honey bee plays a huge role in our food supply. Experts estimate that one in every three bites of food you eat depends on pollination, either directly or indirectly.

“You can’t learn about growing fruits and vegetables without learning about bees,” says Jeff Miller, a beekeeper and educator at DC Honeybees in Washington, D.C. “Bees are as important to the process as sun and water.”

This coming year Whole Kids Foundation® will award its first round of approximately 50 hive grants for schools as part of the new Honey Bee Grant Program, a natural extension of the Whole Kids Foundation School Garden Grant Program.

Bees and kidsHundreds of schools have already expressed interest in hosting hives to enhance their gardens and to use as teaching tools. Despite their stingers, honey bees are actually docile creatures, and with a little education they can coexist in sweet harmony with kids in the garden.

With reports of bee populations declining, education about honey bees is more critical than ever. Tending to hives and observing bee activity provides kids with vital lessons about biology, agriculture, ecology, nutrition and even business. Bees do more than make honey. Pollination is also key to increasing the size of plants, fruits, flowers and overall crop yield.

Cafe con MielTo help support the Whole Kids Foundation Honey Bee Grant Program, visit the coffee bar at your local Whole Foods Market® between June 12-25 and order a Café con Miel (coffee with honey) latte. Whole Kids Foundation will receive 25 cents from every cup sold. That’s a sweet deal for you and schools, too!

Would you like to have a hive at your school? What do you think kids can learn from honey bees?

Tell us in the comments below for a chance to win a gift box that includes a “bee garden” seed packet from High Mowing Seeds, a Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Gardener’s Kit and one pound of Organic Allegro Coffee. Five winners will be randomly selected on June 24.

The fine print: No purchase necessary. Promotion ends June 23, 2013, 11:59 PM CDT. Must be a legal resident of the US or Canada (except in Quebec, where it is void) age 18 or older to participate. Taxes on prize, if applicable, are the responsibility of the winner. Employees of Whole Foods Market, Inc., are not eligible. Void where prohibited.




Rebecca R. says ...
Fantastic! People will protect what they know and love, and this is a great way to get children to understand yet another extremely important part of our ecosystem that we must protect.
06/17/2013 11:28:18 AM CDT
Kristen Stanfield says ...
I would love for my kids' school to be able to learn about the importance of honeybees. Our school is located in an area of mixed socio-economics, the majority being "free and reduced lunch eligible". Bees are seen as a nuisance or threat and misunderstood. Thanks to a lot of hard work and dedication by a few teachers, we do have a science garden that has been incredible for these kids to experience. I can only imagine the amazing lessons about agriculture, economics, nutrition and health that could be learned from a honeybee hive! Please consider Orchard Avenue Elementary School in Grand Junction, Colorado for a honeybee grant. Buzzzzing with excitement, Kristen Stanfield, mom to Parker-age 10, Jake-age 9, and Alexa-age 6
06/17/2013 11:37:37 AM CDT
ANNETTE says ...
I live in what is called the quiet corner of Thompson,CT. I would like to see our high school Tourtellotte Memorial High School in North Grosvenor, CT receive a hive grant from the Honey Bee Grant Program. Their are several farms in the area and this program would be exiciting and encourage young people to be more environmentally responsible.
06/17/2013 1:34:42 PM CDT
Kelley wyckoff says ...
I would live to set up a hive at the high school where I teach biology. It would be an awesome way to teach pollination, ecology, and human impact. We currently have a native rain garden which has a ton of native flowers in an area with a lot of sunlight.
06/18/2013 9:31:11 AM CDT
Kelley wyckoff says ...
I am a biology teacher at a local high school. Having a bee hive on site would be an awesome way to teach pollination, ecology, adaptations, and human impact.
06/18/2013 9:34:14 AM CDT
Jane Johnson - Whole Kids Foundation Team Member says ...
@Kristen Stanfield LOVE your enthusiasm! We are so excited to be adding this program for all the reasons you mentioned. Once kids realize that bees are not a threat to them, it is amazing to see their curiosity spike! Parker, Alexa and Jake are very lucky to have you to shepherd them through the exciting world of pollinators and the food cycle. We'd love to consider their school for a Honey Bee Grant. Applications for this new program are combined with the School Garden Grant Program. That application period will open from September through October. We'll be sending out lots of communications about the approaching window when the time comes. I would definitely sign up for our enewsletters if you have not already. Great way to stay up to date. Thanks again for your excitement, Kristen!
06/18/2013 11:20:17 AM CDT
Jane Johnson - Whole Kids Foundation Team Member says ...
@Annette Sounds like your area could really benefit by encouraging pollinators at the school! Applications for the Honey Bee Grant Program are linked to our School Garden Grant Program. That application period will open in September and close the last day of October. We'd love for Tourtellotte Memorial High School to apply for a school garden grant and honey been grant at that time! A great way to stay in touch is by signing up for our enews. Here's a link! http://wholekidsfoundation.org/newsletter.php
06/18/2013 11:23:59 AM CDT
Maryann says ...
It's important for kids to learn that bees are a vital part of eco-system. If it weren't for honeybees and their pollinating abilities, we would not get to eat oranges, apples, strawberries along with many other fruits and vegetables. Also, let's not forget the millions of pounds of honey every year.
06/19/2013 6:35:06 PM CDT
Kelly Ann says ...
Studying honey bees sparks the imagination - what other small, seemingly insignificant creatures do we neglect or harm that are actually a crucial link in the "circle of life?" Maybe we will look at everything from a different perspective in the future, honoring and valuing everyone and everything.
06/20/2013 10:05:51 AM CDT
Jennifer Paragone says ...
I would love the chance to have a hive at my school for the children. I have 5 hives at my house and my 2 children help us with the bee "chores". I am so impressed with the compassion and respect my children have developed for bees, other insects, and everything we grow. They understand the importance of nature around us. I would love to be given the opportunity to share the importance of honey bees with my school!
07/25/2013 3:12:06 PM CDT
Ann Utley says ...
I would love to help my daughter's school by providing this wonderful opportunity for the kids to learn and discover the importance of Bee's! I am a graphic designer and can help with the process of visual communication. I am behind this cause 100% Thanks, Ann
01/26/2014 2:15:47 AM CST
Danielle Russell says ...
Our children can learn about the necessity of taking care of our environment, to the best of our abilities so that nature can function as it was intended, in a very interdependent community in which even the smallest of members play a vital role. Children can learn to appreciate the roles of our winged "neighbors" and understand more about life cycles and food processes, and the big benefits of small measures we can take to help the small creatures stay busy doing what they were meant to do!
06/18/2014 6:08:28 PM CDT
Lynn Nichelini says ...
I work for a small private preschool in San Rafael. We are an outdoor classroom demonstration site and spend at least 75% of our day outdoors. We love our garden and will be focusing on learning about farms this summer. We have plans to visit a bee farm, as well as two other local, organic farms, one which makes cheese and one which practices sustainability. We feel it's very important to educate our youth from early on. Would love to win the gift box! We would put it to good use this summer! Thanks!
06/18/2014 7:38:12 PM CDT
jennifer.collins says ...
This is AWESOME!!! Love, love, love!!
06/20/2014 8:46:56 PM CDT
Hilary Kearney says ...
Anyone is SAN DIEGO, CA looking to get into beekeeping, educate kids about bees, or host a beehive at their school or home should contact me! I do all of the above. My company is called Girl Next Door Honey.
06/27/2014 5:26:08 PM CDT
bryan zavada says ...
My school, jefferson county open school, in lakewood colorado, has a great garden, but our district won't allow bees or chickens. Have you had any success with this program ?
07/11/2014 1:16:50 AM CDT
gayle morrison says ...
I would love a demo lesson for my 2nd graders. Could you please give me a contact number to discuss what might be available for schools
09/03/2014 11:36:37 AM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@GAYLE - Are you looking for a demo by Whole Kids Foundation? If so, you can reach out to them at https://www.wholekidsfoundation.org/contact/.
09/04/2014 11:20:30 AM CDT
Cyrel Brudny says ...
I am the principal of a nonpublic school in Piscataway and am looking for someone to do a Bees & Honey program here - would you have any leads? Would love to hear about it!
09/08/2014 3:22:24 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@CYREL - I would suggest reaching out to the Whole Kids Foundation at https://www.wholekidsfoundation.org/contact/ to see if this is something they have info about.
09/09/2014 12:17:28 PM CDT
Leah Findtner says ...
We would love to have honeybee in our growing garden! We would love to teach kids about pollination and sustainability. Bees are so important to our food supply and we would like to cultivate that respect, education and experiential learning on our garden space.
10/02/2014 11:54:53 AM CDT
Kathleen Harter says ...
I think every school should have a bee hive or two as bees are amazing! We can learn so much from them and kids are naturally inquisitive about insects and small creatures. My four year old son loves to put on his bee suit and help his dad smoke the bees while they check for eggs and look at the overall health of the hive. He loves to extract the honey from the frames, being mesmerized by the flow of golden honey from the tap. And he loves to sample the honey and wax as we prepare the frames and bee hives for winter. Just last night my son asked at least ten bee related questions before he went to sleep... My favorite quote from my son is, "The bees are collecting sweetness" as he watches them fly from flower to flower.
05/11/2015 10:35:23 AM CDT
Denise Welter says ...
I am curious about the safety issues surrounding inviting bees into our school garden. We have a number of children with life-threatening allergies to bee stings. I feel this addition will prevent those children from enjoying time in our school gardens. How are schools instituting this while still keeping kids safe?
08/19/2015 9:55:40 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@DENISE - Great question. I would suggest reaching out to the Whole Kids Foundation to find out how this has worked with gardens in the past. https://www.wholekidsfoundation.org/contact/
09/09/2015 2:32:07 PM CDT
Justin Stagner says ...
Is there any discussion of bringing back this fantastic program? The bee population is still in decline! My students would LOVE to learn about this crucial part of our ecosystem.
10/29/2015 8:14:32 AM CDT