Almost Wordless Wednesday: 2014 National Honey Bee Day

Theme: Sustainable Gardening Begins with Honey Bees

Last Saturday was National Honey Bee Day. I know we already had Pollinator Week and Moth Week but this day is solely for honey bees – and aren’t we glad because honey bees are the ONLY insects that make honey. So next time you stir honey into your tea – thank a little bee.

Bee laden with pollen (photo courtesy Honey Bee Haven)
Bee laden with pollen (photo courtesy Honey Bee Haven)

Bees are hard workers that have to visit 4.5 million flowers to collect enough nectar to make 16 oz. of honey. They travel 112,000 miles to do this. It truly is amazing! But bees need help. There aren’t as many flowers as there used to be.

 

Plant flowers for bees (photo from Pinterest, photo credit not known)
Plant flowers for bees (photo from Pinterest, photo credit not known)

Bees are such amazing creatures. What can you do to help draw attention to their plight? Get involved! Here’s a short list. Visit these organizations that support honey bees and other pollinators.

National Honey Bee Day:

National Honey Bee Day(logo courtesy of National Honey Bee Day)(logo courtesy of National Honey Bee Day)(logo courtesy of National Honey Bee Day)
National Honey Bee Day (logo courtesy of National Honey Bee Day)

 

Honey Bee Haven (logo courtesy Honey Bee Haven)
Honey Bee Haven (logo courtesy Honey Bee Haven)

 

Pollinator Partnership planting guide (Courtesy Pollinator Partnership)
Pollinator Partnership planting guide (Courtesy Pollinator Partnership)

 

Center for Honey Bee Research (Logo courtesy Center for Honey Bee Research)
Center for Honey Bee Research (Logo courtesy Center for Honey Bee Research)

 

Xerces Society (Logo courtesy Xerces Society)
Xerces Society (Logo courtesy Xerces Society)

 

Long live the Queen Bee! (photo courtesy Center for Honey Bee Research)
Long live the Queen Bee! (photo courtesy Center for Honey Bee Research)

 

For more information, you can also visit the EPA site to read the most recent update on the Colony Collapse Disorder. If I’ve over looked any group, please contact me below and let me know.  Connie Schultz, Master Gardener/Composter (Cornell Extension ’95) now volunteering in Johnston County, NC)

 UPDATE 8/25/2014

Dear Readers, I need to make a correction to my post as I’ve just learned that I may have spoken (or quoted) incorrectly when I said that honey bees are the ONLY insect to make honey. I had an interesting conversation with Amie Newsome, one of my county agents, who was telling me that bumble bees also make a “honey” – not quite the same in all resects as the honey bees.) In the bumble bee life cycle the workers die in the fall and only the queen survives by hibernating through the winter – so they don’t need to store honey to eat over the cold months. She will start a new underground colony again in the spring. The bumble bees collect nectar to feed their new hatchling bumble bees – but only a few ounces or enough for a few days. Bumble bee colonies are also smaller than bee hives with only 50 to 400 bumble bees per colony while honey bees may have as many as 40,000 so they have correspondingly larger stores of honey. For more information on the differences between honey bees and bumble bees, here’s a fun site for kids called BioKids from the University of Michigan and another site which focuses on bumble bees called Bumble Bee Conservation Trust.

 

 

Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth-Almost Wordless Wednesday

 

Kerri Wilson, WSU Pierce County Extension Master Gardener Coordinator planting strawberries with second grade student at Fern Hill Elementary School in the Tacoma School District.  Photo by Steve Balles
Photo by Steve Balles

 

 

 

 

Kerri Wilson, WSU Pierce County Extension Master Gardener Coordinator planting strawberries with second grade student at Fern Hill Elementary School in the Tacoma School District.

 

 

 

Kerri Wilson, WSU Pierce County Extension Master Gardener Coordinator helping a fifth grader thin radishes at Mary Lyon Elementary School in the Tacoma School District. Photo by Kristen Peterson
Photo by Kristen Peterson

 

 

 

Kerri Wilson, WSU Pierce County Extension Master Gardener Coordinator helping a fifth grader thin radishes at Mary Lyon Elementary School in the Tacoma School District.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Kerri Wilson
Photo by Kerri Wilson

 

 

The Daffodil Valley Elementary School Garden under construction in the Spring of 2013.
Sumner WA School District

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Linda Mathews
Photo by Linda Mathews

 

In the background you can see the completed fence and raised beds installed by Sumner High School Students.

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Linda Mathews
Photo by Linda Mathews

 

 

In the background you can see the completed greenhouse and raised beds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Daffodil Valley Elementary School Garden in summer 2013.

Photo by Linda Mathews
Photo by Linda Mathews

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth – Can we prove the benefits of school gardens?

All over the country, gardens are increasing access to fresh and healthy foods and promoting exercise.  But is there evidence to show that gardening—particularly school gardening—can lead to improved eating and other health benefits?  That’s what the People’s Garden School Pilot Project, “Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth” (HGHY) is trying to find out.

More than 4,000 students in low-income communities have taken part in this four-state research project funded by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, and part of the national Peoples Garden program.  Co-led by Washington State University Extension and Cornell University Cooperative Extension-NYC, with partners Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, and the University of Arkansas Extension, HGHY has followed students in 54 elementary schools for the past two years. Data collection was completed in June of 2013 and analysis by the researchers is underway with results expected in spring of 2014.

As part of the project, gardens were installed at half of the schools and students participated in gardening lessons. The other half of the schools served as a control group, receiving no gardens or lessons until the project concluded. After waiting two long years for their gardens, the control schools could hardly wait to get their gardens started – especially Daffodil Valley Elementary.

Daffodil Valley Elementary School in Sumner, Washington is a great example of how community makes a garden successful! When it came time to build the garden, the school formed a garden committee consisting of the school’s librarian, science teacher, after school program coordinator, a parent volunteer, the Sumner High School Agriculture and Future Farmers of America (FFA) Faculty and a Pierce County Master Garden plans to join this committee soon! The committee decided the school would most benefit from a tilled, in-ground garden utilizing the rich soils of the Puyallup Valley, home to many berry and former bulb farms. The committee quickly got to work designing the garden, recruiting youth and community volunteers, and donations from local businesses. Within a few months the garden plot was tilled, a shed and green house were installed, and a fence was raised.  On a sunny day in late May, Daffodil students came out to the garden to plant seeds and transplants. The Sumner High School FFA members participated in each step of the garden installation, from planning meetings to building the fence. Several FFA students completed social science projects inspired by the garden. One Sumner High student completed his Eagle Scout Project by building three wheel chair accessible beds so that all students can garden.

With all the care and attention from the school community, the Daffodil garden produced a bountiful harvest by summer. Everyone is planning for next year’s garden when some of the produce will be sold at a Junior Farmer’s Market – a joint Daffodil Elementary and Sumner High School project to help teach students math and business skills.

Many schools across the country in Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth benefited from the guidance and expertise of Master Gardener volunteers. Master Gardeners taught gardening lessons, provided guidance in garden installation and planting and are now helping with the long term sustainability of the gardens through continual support. A Washington State University Pierce County Master Gardener has been partnered with Daffodil Valley to provide garden education to students and guidance to the garden committee.

To learn more, visit the HGHY website, Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Enjoy schools’ garden pictures Wed., Oct. 30, as an Almost Wordless Wednesday post.

 

Submitted by Kerri Wilson

WSU Pierce County Extension