Planet Bee Foundation is on a mission to change the world - one bee and one student at a time!
We are dedicated to creating a green minded generation by inspiring environmental stewardship and individual action through the teaching lens of the struggling honey bee.
We work with schools, nonprofits, summer camps, environmental centers, community gardens and businesses to build long lasting care of the struggling honey bee and the environment by presenting hands-on, educational workshops on location.
Planet Bee is working towards a future in which children and adults are exposed to global environmental issues, and given the tools to combat them. Today the American child spends an average of 7 hours a day in front of a screen inside, away from nature. Planet Bee's educational programs take students outside, playing a crucial role in connecting children with the earth at the time when they are developing the values which will steer the course of their lives. Outdoor education not only brightens our planet's future, but also improves students' performance in school.
We envision a world in which all students feel empowered to take action for their planet, regardless of race, gender, class or location. Through our work, students will learn to love our planet and the importance of individual action in global movements, and will become more equipped to tackle environmental problems in the future.
Social Justice - Our programs are provided to schools and nonprofits at NO COST to ensure equity and accessibility for all.
Stewardship – Small actions today make larger change in the future. Culture shifts begin with small steps, which escalate to something bigger.
Individuality - Unique perspectives and solutions to environmental issues are crucial for the future of our planet.
Curiosity – Asking questions leads to discovery. Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders, and these leaders need to be constantly seeking better, more innovative solutions to environmental problems.
Read more about our teaching philosophy here.
The seeds of Planet Bee were sown when Bill Tomaszewski started beekeeping 16 years ago. Bill and his wife, Debra, spent many weekends exploring outside -- walking, backpacking, beekeeping. Their love of honey bees grew, and when Colony Collapse Disorder was discovered in 2006, they were devastated.
Since farmers employ beekeepers to bring hives into their orchards and fields to ensure pollination, the potential consequences of Colony Collapse Disorder meant not only losing bees, but losing the ability to pollinate fruit and vegetable crops.
Deb and Bill began to take organized action in 2010 under the name Marin Bee Company. They gave free seminars and installed beehives. They started in nonprofit organizations and community gardens, then moved to schools and corporate campuses, and finally to rooftops and orchards. During these years as Marin Bee Company, they saw the need to focus on youth education. They needed to eliminate the fear of bees they so often encountered and encourage youth to get involved with global environmental issues. They shifted their focus, developed curriculum, and created the environmental nonprofit Planet Bee Foundation.
Planet Bee Foundation received its 501(c)(3) in March 2015. In April 2015 we received large donations from corporations, such as NorCal Whole Foods Market, and from private individuals, which enabled us to scale up and expand our program. In 2016 we were able to increase our full-time staff from one to two educators and increase our number of interns, allowing us to teach more than 12,500 students to date - 6,000 in 2016 alone! We're proud to have partnered with countless schools and nonprofits such as San Francisco Unified School District, the California Academy of Sciences, Acta Non Verba Youth Urban Farm Project, Bay Area Science Festival, and many others. Our programs include our Adopt-A-Hive program, in which we install beehives on school campuses; our Humble Honey Bee program, a hands-on ecoliteracy lesson in honey bee biology; and our ZomBee Watch Citizen Science school program, a three-day lesson in which we teach students how to build their own light traps to catch “ZomBees”, bees which have been parasitized by phorid flies. During the summer of 2018, we added four new programs to our curriculum, and now offer year-long E-STEM Series. Visit our school programs overview page to learn more!
Planet Bee has already accomplished a lot, but our story is just beginning!