Spring 2018 Buzz

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Spring 2018 Buzz

What a wonderful spring it’s been! As always, with each passing season, new experiences are had and exciting opportunities bloom. Allow us to share some of our most recent developments with you!

 Students at Balboa High School show off their seedballs.

Students at Balboa High School show off their seedballs.

Pollinating Young Minds

The cornerstone of our work is teaching youth to be environmental stewards through the unique lens of the honey bee. Spring is one of the busiest times for us as far as teaching goes. Just this season we taught at 28 schools around the Greater Bay Area, teaching over 2,600 students through our educational programs, the Humble Honey Bee, the ZomBee Watch Project, and Adopt-A-Hive. As of this month, we are proud to share that we’ve taught over 17,600 students in schools! That’s a lot of environmental stewards. When summer rolls around we’ll be back at it again, teaching at camps and early care centers, and we can’t wait!

 

 

 Planet Bee Interns Emily Tamkin and Courtney McGuire hold up their favorite bee facts at the Oakland Zoo Earth Day Festival.

Planet Bee Interns Emily Tamkin and Courtney McGuire hold up their favorite bee facts at the Oakland Zoo Earth Day Festival.

Swarming Around Town

Many community members will recognize us at educational fairs and community events by our bright turquoise tablecloths and dazzling observation hive. I must admit, we’re often quite a buzz! We love meeting the range of people who visit our booth, whether they’re asking important questions about bee population decline, playing one of our tabletop pollination games, or gazing at our live bees. Community events are great opportunities to spread the word about our work and share tips with anyone who wants to help make a difference.

We attended five awesome community events this spring, which included the UC Davis Bee Symposium, the Oakland Zoo Earth Day Festival, the Burroughs Family Farm 5K Benefit Run, the Clif Bar Service Fair and the California Honey Festival!

If you didn’t get a chance to catch us at an event this spring, check our community events calendar to see when we’ll be swarming to an area near you!

Bees, Bees, and More Bees!

In March we held our Great Annual Bee Sale, where we sold 115 packages of bees over three days all over the Bay Area! This is just one of the many ways we raise money in order to offer our educational programs to schools for little or no cost. The added bonus is that the more people that are keeping bees with bee-friendly and sustainable techniques, the stronger the overall bee population will be! If you're interested in becoming a beekeeper but aren't sure where to start, check out our beekeeping 101 page and check in with us at the beginning of next spring for your chance to get all the necessary equipment to have your own furry friends.

 The DC Beekeepers Alliance stands in front of their new hives at Wangari Garden.

The DC Beekeepers Alliance stands in front of their new hives at Wangari Garden.

Sowing Seeds Across the Country

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you may have read in our Special Earth Day post that we recently brought on some new and exciting Adopt-a-Hive partners! We’re thrilled to welcome, Stanford University, the Oakland Zoo, College Hill Learning Garden in partnership with Education Outside, and Hacienda Peralta to our ever-growing hive! They’ve all chosen to take on some beehives of their very own and we’re so happy to work with them.

In other news, we’re excited to announce that we will be piloting our educational programs in Washington, D.C! Thanks to the DC Beekeepers Alliance, Wangari Gardens, Best Kids, and DC Public Schools, Planet Bee Lessons will be presented to select schools in the D.C. area. This is just the start of our efforts to expand our reach beyond our local community.

You can help change the world, one bee and one student at a time by sponsoring a Planet Bee educational program for just $10 a student! Click here to make a donation today!

The future is exciting, and we’re happy to have you buzz with us!

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Written by Zach Parlee

Planet Bee Educator, Staff Writer and Community Outreach

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The Sacred Bee: Ancient Greece and Rome

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The Sacred Bee: Ancient Greece and Rome

Bees played an essential role in Greek and Roman religious traditions. They, and the honey they produce, have many symbolic meanings. They also feature in many stories of the Greek and Roman gods. One story tells of the birth of Zeus, King of the Gods (renamed Jupiter by the Romans.) His father, the god Kronos, wished to destroy him, and so his mother smuggled him off to a secret cave on Mount Dicte. The cave was populated by sacred bees which fed the infant god honey. The god remained in the cave until he was grown, then dethroned his father Kronos and became the new king of the gods. Likely due to this story, one of Zeus’s titles was Melissaios, or “bee-man”. Zeus later rewarded the bees for their assistance by making them bright gold in color, and strong enough to resist cold and winds. 

 An ancient Greek amphora depicting four men being stung by bees after attempting to steal honey from the hives that nourished the infant Zeus.

An ancient Greek amphora depicting four men being stung by bees after attempting to steal honey from the hives that nourished the infant Zeus.

Like Zeus, the god Dionysus was raised in a cave and fed on honey. Today he is viewed as the god of wine, but his worship came earlier than wine, from the time when mead was the major alcoholic beverage. Even after wine took the place of mead, honey remained sacred to Dionysus. His followers had ivy-wrapped wands from which honey flowed. He was also credited with being the creator of beekeeping!

The Muses—goddesses of art, poetry, and science—were often connected with bees, which were called “the birds of the Muses”. They gave mortals the gift of eloquence by sending bees to place honey on their lips, to make their voices sweet. The Greek poet Hesiod, who was active around 750 to 650 BC, wrote of the Muses that “whomsoever they honoured and looked upon at his birth, on his tongue they shed a honeyed dew and from his lips would drop gentle words and he would speak counsel unerringly.” The Greek geographer and author Pausanius (110-180 AD) wrote of the poet and musician Pindar that, “While he slept bees flew to him and plastered honey on his lips. Such was the beginning of his career of song.” Similar praise was given to the poets Homer, Sappho, and Erinna, as well as the writers and philosophers Sophocles, Plato, Vergil, and Lucan.

 Cupid the Honey Thief by Albrecht Durer, 1514.

Cupid the Honey Thief by Albrecht Durer, 1514.

Bees also tended to be associated with the underworld and with the souls of the dead. This was likely because wild hives are often located in cracks in rock walls or caves, which were imagined to be entrances to the Underworld. Various Greek philosophers believed that humans could be reincarnated as bees, or that the bees were the souls of those who had not yet been born. Sometimes nymphs were referred to as bees, because they were believed to be reincarnated souls.

Honey was a beloved food of the gods. Ambrosia and nectar, the foods which grant immortality to the gods when they eat them, were generally considered to be similar to honey or mead. Honey was a popular offering for the gods and nymphs as well as for the dead. For instance, in Sophocles’ play, Oedipus Rex, the title character, upon realizing his sins, asks what he should do. The chorus replies, “Water with honey mixed… this pour upon the earth.” Cthonic, or underworld deities in particular were said to have liked offerings of honey, perhaps because of the connection between bees and the souls of the dead. Cerberus, the three-headed dog which guarded the doorway to Hades, the underworld, was distracted when one threw honey-cakes to him, thus allowing entrance. Persephone, wife of Hades and Queen of the Underworld, was called Melitodes, or ‘honeyed one.’

Sources:

Brown, Norman O. "Hesiod: Theogony". Pearson, 1953. Pp. 76.

Cook, Aurthur B. "The Bee in Greek Mythology". The Journal for Hellenistic Studies, 1985. Vol. 15, 23.

Ransome, Hilda M. "The Sacred Bee in Ancient Times and Folklore". London: George Allen & Unwin, 1937. Pp. 84-135.

Sanchez-Parodi, Julie. "The Eleusinian Mysteries and the Bee". Rosicucian Digest, 2009. No. 2, 44. 

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Written by Ayla Fudala

Planet Bee Educator Emeritus and Guest Writer

Graduate Student at the University of Glasgow

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Earth Day 2018: Adopt-A-Hive Spotlight

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Earth Day 2018: Adopt-A-Hive Spotlight

Here at Planet Bee, we work year round to show love for our earth and the incredible creatures that live on it. Aside from visiting schools teaching kids how to take care of honey bees and engaging with the public at community events, we also help those who want to adopt their own hive. After all, one of the best ways to support honey bees is by starting your own hive and using sustainable and bee-friendly techniques!

This special Earth Day blog is all about highlighting all the bee hives that Planet Bee has helped establish through our Adopt-A-Hive Program throughout the Greater San Francisco Bay Area and the awesome organizations that have partnered with us to make it all possible!


Campus Beehives on School Grounds

We mainly work with youth, so it should come as no surprise that we have some awesome beehives on school campuses!

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Visitacion Valley Middle School, San Francisco

There are some schools that truly take the Planet Bee mission to heart, and one example is Visitacion Valley Middle School. Their principal has committed to providing students with ongoing Planet Bee programming, as well as accessibility to the beehives by placing them right in the school's bee-friendly garden. Planet Bee partner, EcoBee, is proud to sponsor a hive and multiple Humble Honey Bee Lessons at Visitacion Valley. EcoBee's support shows a true commitment to our mission of creating a generation of environmental stewards

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Marin Catholic High School, Greenbrae, CA

Located in beautiful Marin County, Marin Catholic High School (otherwise known as MC) students started a grassroots school bee club over three years ago, and were granted three beehives through our partnership with NorCal Whole Foods Market. Note the adorable paintings on the side of the hives. Their campus hives are thriving and still going strong today. MC is working towards implementing sustainability into the school-wide curriculum to emphasize the interconnectedness of all living things. Students enjoy watching worker bees (all girls) forage as they pass between classes. No doubt, these buzzing "gals" are loving all the bee-friendly flowers on school grounds.


Community Gardens and Farms

Most of our in-school lessons take place in the school's garden, so naturally, we have beehives at community gardens, too!

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Acta Non Verba, Oakland, CA

Acta Non Verba's (ANV) philosophy is right in the name, "Actions not Words". And the bees would probably agree, being that they can't speak to begin with! This hive was sponsored by NorCal Whole Foods Market. ANV farm in East Oakland is doing amazing things to empower students through urban farming. Their quarter acre farm is located in the City of Oakland’s Tassafaronga Park and is planned, planted, harvested and sold by youth in grades K-8. One hundred percent of the proceeds are placed into individual savings accounts for those who participate. Our bees are doing important work, providing their fruits and vegetables with reliable pollination year round.

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City Slicker Farms, Oakland, CA

City Slicker Farms is one of newest partners, and we are thrilled to be working with such an incredible community. Clif Bar generously donated three beehives to City Slicker Farms that we maintain. This amazing farm believes that healthy, affordable food is a universal human right. Program participants learn to grow nutritious vegetables and cook delicious meals for themselves and their families, using time-tested, cost-effective, and environmentally sound methods. Planet Bee is grateful to partner with City Slicker Farms to spread awareness of honey bees to the Oakland community.  Check out our founder and lead beekeeper Bill, giving a workshop to the local community at their annual Autumn Harvest Festival. 

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Golden Gate Park CommUnity Garden, San Francisco

People from all over San Francisco own plots in this cute community garden in Golden Gate Park. Luckily for them, they have some pollinators in residence! Our beehives at the San Francisco Rec and Parks (SFRPD) CommUNITY Garden work tirelessly to pollinate crops planted in 67 community raised beds maintained by community plot holders. Over the last four years, we've done hive dives and educational workshops for the community as well as an annual honey spinning workshop with SFRPD Youth Stewardship Program Interns. Common landscape materials (mulch, chips and fines) are stocked in holding bins for the community and a gardening-tool lending library is available. SFRPD seeks to emphasize environmentally sustainable practices at the site in its design, programmatic and operating features, including a native plant nursery.


Corporate Partners

Some of our corporate sponsors have gotten so excited about protecting the bees that they've chosen to adopt beehives on their very own campuses!

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Keller Estate Winery, Petaluma, CA

In the beautiful wine country you may come across Keller Estate Winery, which has been in the winemaking business since 1989. This gorgeous winery is committed to helping the bees, not only through beekeeping, but also through education! Last fall, Planet Bee gave a bee basics workshop and went elbow deep in the hive with wine club members and their middle school children. These wine loving novices learned all about life in the hive and the importance of pollinators to life as we know it. Talk about creating the next generation of environmental stewards!

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Sutro Tower, San Francisco, CA

High on the hills of Twin Peaks sits the iconic Sutro Tower, and who would have guessed that bees live right underneath! These bees prove that radio and television waves aren't so detrimental to bees, and apparently neither is fog. Against all odds, these bees have done great, and even produced some delicious honey this past year. 

Sutro Tower is the Bay Area’s most visible icon. Antennas on the 977-foot-high steel tower safely deliver clear signals throughout the San Francisco Bay Area for television and radio stations; essential communication services for public safety, transportation and other agencies or private providers; and unique, non-stop transmission opportunities for emerging technologies.

Sutro Tower is used by 11 television stations, four FM radio stations, satellite and cable providers, and nearly two dozen public and commercial wireless communication services.

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SAP, Palo Alto, CA

Our partners at SAP are hosts to five healthy bee hives located directly above their organic vegetable garden. Employees get to learn about life inside the hive at our annual Honey Spinning Event as they go dive into their hives with our beekeeper and educators. Team-building is the focus as SAP "worker bees" scape frames to uncap comb, revealing gorgeous delicious fresh raw honey. Next, the honey is jarred and given to employees as a sweet treat. We're going on five years at SAP, and we are thrilled to keep them buzzing!

SAP headquarters is located in the Silicon Valley and is the market leader in enterprise application software. Their software helps streamline processes, giving you the ability to use real-time data to predict customer trends across your entire business. 

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Google Headquarters, Mountain View, CA

As one of our first and original Bee Green Initiative partners, Google, has taken our Adopt-A-Hive Program to the next level. Located on the Mountain View Campus, we initiated our first team-building and corporate beekeeping program with "Googlers". Four Beekeeping Club beehives are located at the Honeyplex Campus and are painted the colors of Google. Each hive has their own employee team tending to it and competes against the other hives to produce honey and keep their bees strong. Those are some pretty smart bees. This year marked our 8th Annual Honey Harvest at Google with festivities including our self guided hands-on portable museum, mead and honey tasting, and a kids corner. 


Old Timers

We can't forget to mention some honorary hives that Planet Bee started way back in its infantry, or shall we say, the larval stage. 

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Homeward Bound of Marin, Novato, CA

These hives began back in 2011, before Planet Bee even had a name! We've been working with Homeward Bound of Marin (HBOM) for eight consecutive years now, maintaining their hives, doing benefit educational workshops for HBOM and of course, harvesting honey, which is sold as a fundraiser. NorCal Whole Foods Market and EcoBee have donated hives to their farm. 

Homeward Bound of Marin is the primary provider of Marin County homeless shelters and services for homeless families and individuals in Marin, California. They operate the only emergency shelter for homeless families in Marin County, which is the entry point for their Family Services Program.  They also operate five supportive housing programs for families, including a new site, Oma Village in Novato.

Being homeless is an experience of trauma for both adults and children. Their Family Services Program create an environment to neutralize trauma and provide support as families stabilize and set goals for the future. We are thrilled to support this amazing organization!

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Planet Bee Office, San Francisco, CA

What's an organization that focuses on honey bees and environmental education without some hives of their own? Over the years, Planet Bee has been so grateful to partner with so many wonderful organizations and schools, but it all began with beekeeping in our very own backyard. The Planet Bee office hives are instrumental in the work we do. We bring them to schools and events in our observation hive, and spin the honey as a fundraiser to continue providing our programs to schools for low or no cost. Taking care of our very own hives is a good reminder to never forget your roots.

 

Bee on the lookout for posting about our new Adopt-A-Hive Programs with Stanford University, The Oakland Zoo, College Hill Learning Garden in partnership with Education Outside, Adam Rogers Community Garden in partnership with Hunter's Point Family, and Hacienda Peralta.

Until next time, bee well!

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Zach Parlee

Planet Bee Staff Writer and Educator

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Meet Our Hive!

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Meet Our Hive!

Here at Planet Bee, we've got some stellar staff, interns, and volunteers. After all, good work attracts good people - kind of like how fragrant flowers attract diligent bees! Of course, none of us can be as hard working and committed as a worker honey bee, but I'd still say our staff is the bee's knees.

In this blog, we're giving you a peak inside our hive, starting with our Queen Bee.


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Debra Tomaszewski - Executive Director

Q: What do you enjoy most about running Planet Bee?

A: I love bringing joy and a love of learning to people through the wonder of bees. It's so amazing seeing students' faces light up when they see live bees and realize that they are more helpful than dangerous.

Q: If you were a honey bee, what job would you enjoy doing the most?

A: I'd be a nurse bee, because I love to nurture.

Q: What's your favorite food that's pollinated by honey bees?

A: Apples. I can't imagine life without them!

Q: Have you ever been stung by a bee? If so, where and when?

A: I was pruning my apple tree while a bee was pollinating nearby. I accidentally hit it and got stung on my green thumb!


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Bill Tomaszewski - Board of Directors President, Co-Founder, and Beekeeper

Q: What do you enjoy most about working with Planet Bee?

A: All the wonderful people I meet installing hives at different locations.

Q: If you were a honey bee, what job would you enjoy doing the most?

A: Security Bee.

Q: What's your favorite food that's pollinated by honey bees?

A: Blueberries.

Q: Have you ever been stung by a bee? If so, where and when?

A: I get stung all the time. I used to swell up, but don't anymore! My theory is you always get stung where you need it!


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Sarah Thorson - Program Director and Educator

Q: What has been your favorite experience working with Planet Bee so far?

A: I absolutely love every day that I get to work with students or the community and share the world of bees with them, and I have been greatly enjoying the experience of working on curriculum development this year as program director. 

Q: If you were a honey bee, what job would you enjoy doing the most?

A: I would want to be a forager worker bee so I could show off my dancing skills. 

Q: What's your favorite food that's pollinated by honey bees?

A: My first reaction is AVOCADOS, but most of my favorite foods are pollinated by bees. 

Q: Have you ever been stung by a bee? If so, where and when?

A: Oh yes! My first bee sting happened when I was a kid doing cartwheels in a field. My favorite sting happened when I only put on a suit jacket and someone stung my bottom!


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Zach Parlee - Outreach Coordinator and Educator

Q: What has been your favorite experience working with Planet Bee so far?

A: Getting to harvest honey from our hives at Sutro Tower Inc. I got to see the massive radio and TV antenna up close from directly underneath. It was also a really foggy day, which added an extra eerie vibe.

Q: If you were a honey bee, what job would you enjoy doing the most?

A: I'd probably want to be a wax maker bee so I could essentially do crafts all day.

Q: What's your favorite food that's pollinated by honey bees?

A: Mangoes.

Q: Have you ever been stung by a bee? If so, where and when?

A: When I was in elementary school I was walking around barefoot outside and accidentally stepped on a bee. My foot was so swollen I couldn't fit it in a shoe for days!


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Drea Garing - Biology and Research Intern

Q: What has been your favorite experience working with Planet Bee so far?

A: Going into the hive, seeing the bees in their natural habitat, and tasting raw honey.

Q: If you were a honey bee, what job would you enjoy doing the most?

A: I would enjoy making honey the most!

Q: What's your favorite food that's pollinated by honey bees?

A: Strawberries.

Q: Have you ever been stung by a bee? If so, where and when?

A: Nope :)


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Sam Montell - Environmental Science and Admin Intern

Q: What has been your favorite experience working with Planet Bee so far?

A: Helping out at a tabling event at the San Jose Children's Discovery Museum. It was so much fun having the opportunity to teach kids not to be afraid of bees since they are such a crucial component to our environment and help us obtain some of our favorite foods!

Q: If you were a honey bee, what job would you enjoy doing the most?

A: My favorite task would be foraging for pollen and nectar because it would allow me to get outside the hive and be face to face with all the beautiful flowers!

Q: What's your favorite food that's pollinated by honey bees?

A: Avocados. I add them to almost every meal I eat.

Q: Have you ever been stung by a bee? If so, where and when?

A: I was stung by a bee when I was about five years old on my upper arm while playing with chalk. The bee landed right where I was writing and I accidentally hit it! 


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Courtney McGuire - Biology and Research Intern

Q: What has been your favorite experience working with Planet Bee so far?

A: Getting a look into the world of nonprofits has been really great! I'm also excited to go into a hive and to spend a day at a school. 

Q: If you were a honey bee, what job would you enjoy doing the most?

A: Foraging for pollen and nectar (I'd be able to see so many beautiful flowers!)

Q: What's your favorite food that's pollinated by honey bees?

A: Strawberries.

Q: Have you ever been stung by a bee? If so, where and when?

A: I've actually been stung quite a few times (sorry bees!). One time that was truly wrong place, wrong time was when I was about 7 or so and I was running up my driveway. On the way, I tripped on a rock and fell on top of a bee! The poor bee didn't even know what hit it. 


If you'd like to learn more about our fantastic staff, click here.  Thanks for reading!

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Written by Zach Parlee

Planet Bee Educator, Staff Writer and Community Outreach

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The Sacred Bee: The British Isles

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The Sacred Bee: The British Isles

Honey harvesting from beehives has been practiced in the British Isles for thousands of years. In the times before the Roman conquest of Britain, various tribes, such as the Celts, believed mead to be the drink of the gods, much like the Greek and Roman tradition of ‘ambrosia’. In the pagan Celtic paradise, there were rivers of mead. After the Roman occupation of Britain, a great number of Roman traditions, including ideas on the significance of bees and honey, were incorporated into British culture.

 A depiction of a swarm of bees gathered on a tree branch with farmers pictured below.

A depiction of a swarm of bees gathered on a tree branch with farmers pictured below.

A classical idea maintained by the British was the notion of ‘bee souls’. It was believed that the soul could leave the body in the form of a bee while a person was sleeping. In one story, two young men are travelling, and lay down to rest on the roadside. One falls asleep and the other sees a bee leave his mouth. Alarmed, he shakes the man awake, and as he is awakening the bee re-enters his mouth.

A related idea, that witches could turn into bees to work mischief, was referenced in several witch trials. One Scottish tale tells of a child who was poisoned. His grandmother and another woman were claimed to have committed the murder while wearing the guises of bees. 

There are also many stories linking saints and bees, particularly in Ireland and Wales. This is likely because many priests, monks, and nuns kept bees. One story tells of a St. Modomnoc or Dominicus, a holy beekeeper whose bees were overly fond of him. He travelled to Ireland, and a swarm of bees followed him, gathering on the prow of the ship. They followed him every time he left the monastery. These were supposedly the first bees in Ireland. Some of St. Modomnoc’s bees were taken by a monk named Molaga to his monastery, which was afterwards named “the Church of the Bees”.

 Owl and Bees painting by Jopseph Crawhall III. 

Owl and Bees painting by Jopseph Crawhall III. 

In regards to death, bees have significance in British as well as classical folklore. In England, Wales, and Scotland, it was believed that one must inform bees of major life events, particularly of deaths. If the bees are not told of their owner’s death, they are thought to die or fly away. The hive was sometimes decorated with crepe and the bees given cake and wine during the funeral. Bees were also told of births and marriages.

Stay tuned next month to read all about bees in Ancient Greece and Rome!

 

Sources:

Baring-Gould, Sabine, Fisher, John. "The Lives of the British Saints". London: The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorian,1908. Pp. 300.

Dalyell, John G. "The Darker Superstitions of Scotland, Illustrated from History and Practice". Edinburgh: Waugh and Innes, 1834. Pp. 564.

Ransome, Hilda M. "The Sacred Bee in Ancient Times and Folklore". London: George Allen & Unwin, 1937. Pp. 92-223. 

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Written by Ayla Fudala

Planet Bee Educator Emeritus and Guest Writer

Graduate Student at the University of Glasgow

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The Sweet History of Beekeeping in the U.S.

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The Sweet History of Beekeeping in the U.S.

We're thrilled to introduce our new editorial intern, Christopher Li. Christopher is a student at Dougherty Valley High School and writer extraordinaire! Enjoy his first blog post for Planet Bee, and "bee" sure to keep a look out for more of his work over the coming months!

Did you know that honey bees, which are critical in the pollination of popular U.S. produce such as almonds, apples, and blueberries, are not native to the Americas? The honey bees that you see dancing from flower to flower in many farms and gardens actually originated in Europe!

The introduction of the honey bee began with European colonization of the Americas in the 17th century; before that, wild native bees, other insects, and some birds and mammals pollinated the native flowers of the continent. The honey bee's ability to pollinate crops, produce honey, and be easily domesticated allowed for the occupation of beekeeping to grow in the U.S.

 A young beekeeper holds up a honey frame, circa 1935.

A young beekeeper holds up a honey frame, circa 1935.

Managed beehives were not only limited to the East Coast colonies where they were initially established but were also taken across the country during beekeepers’ journeys westward. Of course, natural bee migration played its role as well; when colonies would swarm, they would establish new hives up to 3 miles away. This westward migration occurred relatively gradually, with no reported sightings of honey bees beyond Kansas in 1843. Ultimately, it was the carrying of beehives by way of sea and the Isthmus of Panama that resulted in the successful development of the beekeeping industry in the west. This spread and development of beekeeping now forms the backbone of the production of many crops. Today, for example, the Californian almond industry is directly dependent on our buzzing gals.

 L. L. Langstroth, inventor of the Langstroth hive.

L. L. Langstroth, inventor of the Langstroth hive.

No doubt, the spread of honey bees also came with the development of beekeeping technology within the U.S. An American apiarist named L.L. Langstroth created a method of beekeeping that is still used today. He invented a “bee box” that held multiple wooden rectangular frames. These frames were interchangeable, which allowed beekeepers to check on the condition of their bee colonies and monitor any parasites, viruses, or general issues within the colony. The design also allowed for the easy collection of honey by including natural space between the frames. Thus, honey could be collected without destroying the whole structure and disrupting the bees. We use Langstroth hives here at Planet Bee, and we think they are the bee's knees!

In summary, since its introduction to the U.S., beekeeping has evolved to be less dangerous and more reliable. honey bees have provided immeasurable services, including honey production and pollination of important crops. Thanks to scientific knowledge about bee behavior and modern beekeeping technologies, humans have never been better suited interact with bees. If you'd like to see what all the buzz around beekeeping is about, be sure to read Beekeeping 101.

Here’s to the sweet history of beekeeping!

Sources:

Calderone, Nicholas. "Insect Pollinated Crops, Insect Pollinators and US Agriculture: Trend Analysis of Aggregate Data for the Period 1992-2009." PLoS One Vol. 7, Ed. 5. 2012. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3358326/

Oertel, Everett. "History of Beekeeping in the United States." Agricultural Handbook Number 335. 1980. http://beesource.com/resources/usda/history-of-beekeeping-in-the-united-states/

Walker, Donna. "The History of Beekeeping and Honey Bees in North America." Hearts Pest Management, Inc. 2012. https://www.heartspm.com/beekeeping-honey-bees-north-america.php

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Written by Christopher Li

Planet Bee Editorial Intern

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The Sacred Bee: Ancient China

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The Sacred Bee: Ancient China

We know that bees were plentiful in ancient China, but there are very few mentions of them in record or folklore. The word "feng" was used to refer to both bees and wasps, but honey bees were distinguished as honey-fengs, or family-fengs (domesticated bees). Earth-fengs, or ground-bees, which carry off caterpillars to feed their young, were believed by the Chinese to train these caterpillars to become bees! Another amusing superstition held that in the K'un-lun mountains there was a bee ten feet long, with a sting that could kill an elephant! 

Planet Bee Foundation

There were a few popular sayings relating to bees, such as "Bees make honey and men eat it," and "When the nest is destroyed, others get the honey". Chinese beekeepers used to practice a form of beekeeping in which the hive was destroyed when the honey is taken. For hives, they used a basket smeared with mud, which they placed on a piece of wood driven into the side of the house high off the ground. They also caught swarms inside their hats, which they covered on the inside with honey. During the seventh and eight centuries, honey was mixed with opium. 

There are a few superstitions relating to bees. In some regions, hives are turned around after the death of their owner. The passage below, taken from Shi-Chin's 1553 work "Chi-pei-yau-tan", shows, that the Chinese considered swarms good luck. 

Planet Bee Foundation

"The inhabitants of certain mountains south of Yau-yue are all in a lifelong ignorance of the calendar, but in its stead they observe punctually every morning and evening the hives which the family keeps. Whatever day the bees happen to swarm, is deemed unfailingly lucky. Should some business chance be unfinished in the day, it is put off till another occasion of bees swarming. On such a day are also celebrated ordinarily the ceremonies of marriage and of beginning buildings. Thus, swarm in whose house the bees may, the servants and neighbors go round the place with the news; indeed the people never attempt to conceal the fact. Once upon a time a trading stranger came and sojourned in the locality for a year, and during that time he attentively recorded the days on which the bees swarmed, although numbering one hundred odd. Upon his return home he examined the calendar, and was astonished on finding those days without exception marked dies albi; whereas all other days on which the bees did not swarm were either marked unlucky or of no import. So wonderful is the mystic instinct of these animals which enables them to communicate freely with the creator." 

Here again we find a link between bees and heavenly powers, a belief that bees were the messengers of the gods. This belief was also prevalent in the West. 

Until next time, we wish you swarms aplenty!

Source: 

Ransome, Hilda M. "The Sacred Bee in Ancient Times and Folklore". London: George Allen & Unwin, 1937. Pp. 19-41. 

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Written by Ayla Fudala

Planet Bee Educator Emeritus and Guest Writer

Graduate Student at the University of Glasgow

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Fall Buzz - 2017

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Fall Buzz - 2017

Seasons greetings from the Planet Bee hive! What an eventful fall it's been for us, and what better way to celebrate the end of the year then to recap all the excitement and fun that has taken place over the last few months.

New Additions to Our Hive

 Fall 2017 interns

Fall 2017 interns

This fall, we were fortunate to bring on some wonderful new staff members, including our new educator and outreach coordinator, Zach (that’s me), as well as our four interns--Ginger from UC Berkeley, Jordan and Drea from San Francisco State University, and Nancy from College of Marin. I’ve personally loved learning about the basics of beekeeping by working first hand in the hive. Having recently moved from the Big Island of Hawaii, where I taught middle school science for two years as a Teach for America corps member, I’ve especially enjoyed traveling to different schools around the Bay Area and honing my teaching skills.

Our amazing interns have been invaluable this fall by leading games and activities at tabling events and even helping catch a swarm that landed on a neighbor’s fence! We will miss this group, but look forward to welcoming the new spring interns-- Colleen, Samantha, Christopher, and Denver. Be on the lookout for more about them in the next blog.

 Inquisitive students at Visitacion Valley Middle School witness first hand what life in the hive is like in our observation hive.

Inquisitive students at Visitacion Valley Middle School witness first hand what life in the hive is like in our observation hive.

Pollinating Young Minds

We’re proud to share that we reached a total of 4,500 students this year through our educational programs, the Humble Honey Bee, the ZomBee Watch Project, and Adopt-A-Hive, adding to our ever growing hive of environmental stewards, which is now 15,000! Our mission continues to be rooted in creating a green-minded generation by inspiring environmental stewardship and individual action through the teaching lens of the struggling honey bee. It’s always such a joy watching a child’s attitude towards honey bees change from fear to admiration after one of our site visits.

 Jordan, Sarah, Zach, and Nancy engaging with the community at  Discovery Day at AT&T Park.

Jordan, Sarah, Zach, and Nancy engaging with the community at  Discovery Day at AT&T Park.

Swarming Around Town

This season was packed for us with educating the public at community events, including the Whole Kids Vendor Fair, YSI’s Annual Wildlife Festival, BaySplash, the City Slicker Farms Harvest Festival, North Bay Science Discovery Day, the Bioneers Family Fair, and Discovery Day at AT&T Park. We always have so much fun teaching people about how they can help support our pollinator friends as they interact with our dynamic table top activities and live bees. They even get to make a seed ball to plant to help bees! Some highlights for us were attending awe-inspiring talks by world-renowned change-makers, innovators, and visionaries at the National Bioneers Conference at Marin Center in San Rafael and being part of the Bay Area Discovery Day at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds and AT&T Park with an overall attendance of over 45,000 people!

 

 Clif Bar employees work together to assemble bee hives during one of our team-building workshops.

Clif Bar employees work together to assemble bee hives during one of our team-building workshops.

Work(er bee)shops

Fall was the season of honey harvests for us at Planet Bee. During Google’s annual honey harvest, we had a blast tasting mead made by employees from previous year's harvest. We had some seriously sweet and sticky fun scraping honey off the frames by hand at SAP. And we enjoyed taking a group of middle schoolers directly into the hives to pull out the honey frames at Keller Estate Winery.

 During our lunchtime talk at Earthjustice headquarters, employees shared their favorite facts about honey bees.

During our lunchtime talk at Earthjustice headquarters, employees shared their favorite facts about honey bees.

We also held a beehive building workshop with the Food and Innovation Team at the Clif Bar Headquarters, where employees got busy assembling bee hives, bonding over honey, cheese, and mead tastings, and learning a thing or two about life in the hive from myself and Sarah. By the end of the day, we made a total of 10 beehives, which will be sold at our annual bee sale to support our educational programs!

We were also honored to present an informative lunchtime talk to Earthjustice employees at their headquarters in San Francisco. Of course, we were preaching to the choir as this group is devoted to fighting for environmental justice and advancing the promise of a healthy world for all.

 

 Students examine live bees up close during our Humble Honey Bee Project lesson.

Students examine live bees up close during our Humble Honey Bee Project lesson.

Join Our Hive

A whopping 2,500 seed balls were created by children and adults this fall, which equates to 25,000 California Poppies being added to the Bay Area region. That’s a lot of food for the bees!

We wish to thank all of our community, corporate, nonprofit, and school partners for joining in our mission to foster stewardship for the earth. We couldn’t do it without you.

Join us as we change the world-- one bee and one student at a time!

Help us create the next generation of environmental stewards. Every $10 donation provides a student with a unique up-close experience with bees and the tools to help them!

PS - Be on the lookout next week for Planet Bee's New Year's Resolutions!

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Written by Zach Parlee

Planet Bee Educator, Staff Writer and Community Outreach

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The Sacred Bee: Ancient India

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The Sacred Bee: Ancient India

 Brahmi, the Bee Goddess

Brahmi, the Bee Goddess

India's oldest sacred book, the Rig-Veda, contains many mentions to bees and honey. This book was probably compiled between 2000 and 3000 BCE, and was written in Sanskrit. The Sanskrit word for honey is madhu, which is etymologically identical to the Greek methu and the Anglo-Saxon medu, or mead.

Honey, Bees, and the Gods

The Hindu gods were often associated with bees. The gods Vishnu, Krishnu, and Indra were called Madhava, the nectar-born ones, and their symbol is the bee. Vishnu is represented as a blue bee upon a lotus flower, the symbol of life, resurrection, and nature. The bee is blue because blue is the color of the sky from which the gods come.  Where Vishnu steps, a spring of mead appears. Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu, is often depicted with a blue bee on his forehead. Another god, Siva, the Destroyer, has another form, called Madheri, or the suave one. In this form his symbol is an inverted triangle with a bee resting upon it. There is even a Hindu Bee Goddess,  named Bhrami, a word which means 'bees' in Hindi. It was said that Bramari resided in the heart chakra and emitted the buzzing sound of bees. This buzzing, humming noise was often imitated in Vedic chants, and represented the essential sound of the universe all across India. 

 Kama, the God of Love, with his bowstring of bees

Kama, the God of Love, with his bowstring of bees

Then there is Kama, the god of love, who carries a bow with a string made of bees.  And that is not the only bee-related weapon: the twin horsemen, the Asvins, lords of light, have a whip dripping with honey known as Madhukasa. These horsemen ride in a chariot known as Madhuvahana, or "honey-bearing". By sprinkling honey from their whip, the Asvins were said to prolong the peoples' lives. There is even a hymn written specifically about the honey whip in the Atharva-Veda!

"When the honey-lash comes bestowing gifts, there life's breath, and there immortality has settled down.

As the bees carry honey upon honey, thus in my person, O Asvins, luster shall be sustained. 

O Asvins, lords of Brightness, anoint me with the honey of the bee, that I may speak forceful speech among men."

This last verse refers to the belief, common in many countries besides India, that eating honey would make one's speech more eloquent and one's songs more sweet. In European myths, bees were referred to as the "Birds of the Muses" for this reason. One hymn mentions a poet named Kahsivat who was aided in his singing by honey which had dropped from the Asvins' honey vat. 

Uses of Honey

As in Ancient Egypt, rulers in India exacted honey as taxes from their people: one sixth of all honey produced. Honey was so highly valued that if someone stole it, they were cursed to return in their next life as a gadfly! Novice priests were ordered to abstain from honey, as well as from meat, perfume, and women. This must have been a real test of self control for the young priests, as every month a feast to the gods was celebrated in which these priests had to go around offering guests honey. If a novice broke down and ate honey, he had to fast for three days and spend one day standing in water!

However, not all religious orders felt the same way about honey. The Satapatha Brahmana taught that honey was "the supreme essence of plants" and that eating it was like absorbing the essence of the Vedas, the most ancient of Hindu scriptures. In one passage honey is said to be a life sap of the sun, a "life-substance" which was often used in ritual. The writer's enthusiastic love for honey can be clearly seen in these lines: 

"Honey the winds pour forth for the righteous, honey the rivers; full of honey may the plants be for us! Honey by night and morn, rich in honey may the region of earth be for us, honey the father Heaven!" 

In another passage, priests are compared to bees and the sacrifice they offer to the gods is compared to honey. 

"'It is bees' honey,' they say: for bees' honey means the sacrifice, and the bees that make the honey are no other than the officiating prests; and it is inlike manner as the working bees make the honey increase, so do they [the priests] thereby strengthen the sacrifice." 

Honey played a role in many rites and ceremonies. When a male baby was born, he was supposed to be fed with gold, honey, and butter, while a sacred formula was recited. Honey was often a staple at marriages. Among the Deccan Hindus, even today, honey is offered to the bridegroom when he comes to the bride’s house. In other regions, honey is offered at the wedding, and the mouth, forehead, and other parts of the bride are smeared with honey. When the newly married man kisses his bride, he says:

“Honey, this is honey, the speech of thy tongue is honey; in my mouth lives the honey of the bee, in my teeth lives peace.”

Honey was also used in magical charms of protection, such as charms against the poison of snakes, scorpions, and other insects.

Swarms

Swarms of bees had a number of symbolic meanings. If a swarm of bees flew into a house, this meant bad luck, which could only be avoided by burning pieces of the Udumbaba-tree.  If you dreamed that bees flew into your house, you were soon to die or suffer some terrible misfortune.  

We wish you the best of fortune, and hope that you have enjoyed learning about bees and honey in Ancient India! Next up, we’ll be learning about the significance of bees in Ancient China. Stay tuned!

 

Source: 

Ransome, Hilda M. "The Sacred Bee in Ancient Times and Folklore". London: George Allen & Unwin, 1937. Pp. 19-41. 

Gough, Andrew. "The Queen Bee Project: The Indian Bee Goddess: Bramari Devi". March 4, 2012. https://thequeensbeesproject.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/the-indian-bee-goddess-bhramari-devi/ 

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Written by Ayla Fudala

Planet Bee Educator Emeritus and Guest Writer

Graduate Student at the University of Glasgow

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The Sacred Bee: Ancient Egypt

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The Sacred Bee: Ancient Egypt

Bees and Honey in Ancient Egypt

It cannot be disputed that the Ancient Egyptians attached great religious and spiritual significance to the honey bee. Bees were associated with royalty in Egypt; indeed, as early as 3500 BC, the bee was the symbol of the King of Lower Egypt! (The symbol of the King of Upper Egypt was a reed). There are many examples of bee hieroglyphs to be found in the records, as well as hieroglyphs for honey and beekeeper. 

 Bee-related hieroglyphs

Bee-related hieroglyphs

Beekeeping has been practiced for thousands of years in Egypt. For at least four thousand five hundred years, the Egyptians have been making hives in the same way, out of pipes of clay or Nile mud, often stacked one on top of another. These hives were moved up and down the Nile depending on the time of year, allowing the bees to pollinate any and all flowers which were in season. Special rafts were built for moving these hives, which were stacked in pyramids. At each new location, the hives were carried to the nearby flowers and released. When the flowers died, the bees were taken a few miles further down the Nile and released again. Thus the bees traveled the whole length of Egypt. This tradition continues into the present day. 

 Ancient Egyptians bake honey cakes

Ancient Egyptians bake honey cakes

Honey was used by all classes in Ancient Egypt, indicating that it must have been produced on a large scale. It was used for everything from sweetening food, to preventing infection by being placed on wounds, to paying taxes. One marriage contract has been found which states, "I take thee to wife... and promise to deliver to thee yearly twelve jars of honey." Honey was exacted as tribute from conquered countries; for instance, many jars of honey were paid each year by the Retenu tribe of Syria to their Egyptian conqueror, Thothmes II.  

Honey and wax were used for religious as well as practical purposes. Sacred animals were fed cakes sweetened with honey. These animals included the sacred bull at Memphis, the sacred lion at Leontopolis, and the sacred crocodile at Crocodilopolis. Mummies were sometimes embalmed in honey, and often sarcophagi were sealed up with beeswax. Jars of honey were left in tombs as offerings the dead, to give them something to eat in the afterlife. One of our favorite stories to tell kids is that when King Tut's tomb was open, a 2,000-year-old jar of honey was found. And because honey never spoils, it was still perfectly edible!

It was widely believed in Ancient Egypt that if a witch or a wizard made a beeswax figure of a man and injured or destroyed it, the man himself would suffer or die. In a ceremonial offering known as the "Opening of the Mouth", priests used special instruments to place honey into the mouth of a statue of a god, or the statue or mummy of a king or other great noble. Certain lines in ancient rituals indicate that the Egyptians may have even believed that the soul of a man (his "ka", or double; the part which continues after death) took the form of a bee. Another ritual from the Book of "Am-Tuat", or "the Otherworld", compares the voices of souls to the hum of bees. 

 Wall art of bees and honey

Wall art of bees and honey

"This god crieth out to their souls after he hath entered the city of the gods who are on their sand, and there are heard the voices of those who are shut in this circle which are like [the hum] of many bees of honey when their souls cry out to Ra."

It was written in another ritual, contained in the "Salt Magical Papyrus", that bees were created from the tears of the sun-god Ra himself, whom the Egyptians believed to be the creator of the earth and the sea. Ra's right eye was the sun, his left eye was the moon, and he caused the Nile to flood. 

"When Ra weeps again the water which flows from his eyes upon the ground turns into working bees. They work in flowers and trees of every kind and wax and honey come into being." 

We at Planet Bee hope that you find all this as fascinating and awe-inspiring as we do! Next up, we'll be talking about bees in Ancient India. Stay tuned!

Source: 

Ransome, Hilda M. "The Sacred Bee in Ancient Times and Folklore". London: George Allen & Unwin, 1937. Pp. 19-41. 

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Written by Ayla Fudala

Planet Bee Educator Emeritus and Guest Author

Graduate Student at the University of Glasgow

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The Sacred Bee: Bees in Caveman Times

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The Sacred Bee: Bees in Caveman Times

Have you ever wondered how beekeeping first began? When the earliest humans, living in caves, discovered that the buzzing hive of bees could provide them with delicious honey and useful wax? 

Honey Gathering in Ancient Times

 A figure gathers honey from a hive on a cliff face in this 8,000 year old painting discovered in Arana Cave in Spain

A figure gathers honey from a hive on a cliff face in this 8,000 year old painting discovered in Arana Cave in Spain

There is evidence that mankind was gathering honey in the late Paleolithic times, ten to fifteen thousand years ago. An 8,000-year-old rock painting discovered at Arana Cave near Valencia, Spain, depicts a person climbing a ladder to gather honey from a hive on a cliff face. This picture was made when humans were still in the hunting and gathering stage, before they had begun to farm or domesticate animals. The figure is naked, with no protection from the stings of bees, meaning that it must have taken great courage and endurance to gather this honey. Perhaps even then it was being used for magical or religious purposes. It is possible that this image was created as a talisman for a successful mission; that if the honey gathering was depicted on  stone, it would aid and protect the honey gatherer. 

After this painting there is a gap in our knowledge of honey gathering lasting thousands of years. 

Next month, read all about the many uses and meanings of bees and honey in Ancient Egypt!

Source: 

Ransome, Hilda M. "The Sacred Bee in Ancient Times and Folklore". London: George Allen & Unwin, 1937. Pp. 19-41. 

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Written by Ayla Fudala

Planet Bee Educator Emeritus and Guest Author

Graduate Student at the University of Glasgow

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From the Halls of High School

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From the Halls of High School

 Michael teaches a child how to make seed balls at Cal Academy's Pollinator Festival

Michael teaches a child how to make seed balls at Cal Academy's Pollinator Festival

Earlier this year, Planet Bee was lucky enough to have the help of two brilliant high school seniors from Irvington High School of Fremont, California: Michael Cao and Hesham Rabbani. These two chose to work with Planet Bee in conjunction with a school project on pesticides. They volunteered with us at Discovery Day at AT&T Park and the California Academy of Sciences, and conducted an interview with their high school peers to determine general awareness and concern regarding the bee crisis. Want to hear about the experience from their own lips? Read on!

What made you want to work with Planet Bee?

We chose to work with Planet Bee in accordance with a project we executed. My personal reason to reach out to this organization was their mission statement. We found what Planet Bee was doing to be interesting and beneficial to the environment. My project consists of a topic and a question. It is about investigating the decline of honey bees due to pesticides and finding a solution for the problem. Even though it was an assignment, we chose the topic of bees to be included in my project because of their importance in the world. I have seen on the news and personally researched that we need bees for one third of the food we eat. “Bees are responsible for pollinating about one-sixth of the flowering plant species worldwide and approximately 400 different agricultural types of plant” (Jessica Tucker).

 Hesham teaches a child how to play our popular tabletop pollination game at Cal Academy

Hesham teaches a child how to play our popular tabletop pollination game at Cal Academy

    What did you learn from your experience with Planet Bee?

    At Planet Bee, we learned that there are people who care about the environment and work hard to educate people and try to make a change. It is important for our world to understand that there are matters which cannot be avoided. We decided to work with Planet Bee at large scientific events in the AT&T Park in San Francisco and at the California Academy of sciences. There, we communicated with people in order to teach them about the importance of bees and how Planet Bee is helping their situation.

    Planet Bee has provided us with many new experiences and opportunities to succeed. Observing professionals doing what they love and promoting their organization is a wonderful thing to see. We have faith that we can learn to do the same if we are put in similar situations once we join the workforce. Personally, we felt like the experience we had at the science festival was something new and exciting, something that made us step out of our comfort zone. The information we were provided during the interview with two of the staff really helped jumpstart our research into the right directions.

    What are you doing to help save the bees?

    In order to support the bees and take initiative, we are using locally produced honey and organic foods produced by bees in order to promote their existence. We have also planted poppy flowers in our backyards in order to provide sustenance for the bees.

    Interview with high school students

    Why do we need bees?

    • 60% say for honey and pollination.
    • 10% say just for pollinating.
    • 30% say for fruits and other food.

    What is currently happening with the bees?

    • 20% say “I don’t know.”
    • 40% say they are decreasing because of diseases and disorders.
    • 40% say because of pesticides.

    Do you know what Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is?

    • 50% say no.
    • 40% have heard of it but do not know what it is.
    • 10% say yes.

    What causes CCD?

    • 90% infer that it is caused by humans.
    • 10% say natural causes of some sort.

    Do you want to make a difference?

    • 40% say no.
    • 60% say yes because of how important bees are to the human food supply.

    Our Takeaway

    We are so grateful for students like Michael and Hesham, who take the initiative to learn more about the bee crisis and spread their knowledge among their peers. We hope to reach thousands more students in the years to come, increasing general awareness of the essential role bees play in our ecosystems and our lives. But we can't do it all on our own! Ask yourself- what can I do today to help save the bees? And healthy hives worldwide will thank you!

     

    Written by Ayla Fudala
    Planet Bee Educator and Staff Writer

    Guest Writers Michael Cao and Hesham Rabbani

     

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      Happy National Honey Month!

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      Happy National Honey Month!

      Did you know? September is National Honey Month! To celebrate, we'd like to tell you how honey is made, and share some of our favorite facts about it. 

      How is Honey Made? 

       A honey bee sips nectar with her proboscis

      A honey bee sips nectar with her proboscis

      A worker bee flies from flower to flower, sipping nectar with her long straw-like tongue, or proboscis. She stores the nectar in the top one of her two stomachs, which was designed exclusively for carrying nectar. There's a valve in between the top stomach and the bottom stomach, which is attached to the bee's digestive system. If she's hungry, the bee can let a little bit of nectar from her top stomach into her bottom stomach to feed herself. However, most of the honey is kept in the top stomach, where it's broken down by enzymes. The bee will visit 2,000 flowers every day to gather nectar. Once her stomach is full, she'll fly back to the hive and pass the nectar off to another worker bee, who will spit it up into one of the cells, and then fan it with her wings to evaporate the water. Nectar is about 20% sugar and 80% water, but honey is the reverse - about 80% sugar and only 20% water. That's why it's so thick and sticky. The bees dehydrate the nectar so that they can store a concentrated source of energy - sugar - inside the hive, and survive by eating it in the winter, when it's too cold to fly and all the flowers are dead. 

      Honey Fun Facts

      • Honey never goes bad! It will crystallize, but all you have to do is heat it up and it will turn back into a liquid. In fact, when archaeologists opened up King Tut's tomb, they found a 2,000-year-old jar of honey, and it was still edible!
      • Eating local honey made from native plants can help you if you have allergies
      • Humans have been using honey and wax for at least 9,000 years
      • Honey has antibacterial properties, so the Ancient Egyptians used to rub it on their wounds to prevent infection
      • In her whole life, a worker bee will only make 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey
      • Bees must visit approximately 2 million flowers and fly over 55,000 miles to make 1 pound of honey
      • Honey is the only food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life, including enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and water. It’s also the only food that contains pinocembrin, an antioxidant associated with improved brain functioning!
      • Two tablespoons of honey would fuel a honey bee flying once around the world
      Planet Bee Foundation

      We wish you a sweet September! 
       

      Written by Ayla Fudala
      Planet Bee Educator and Staff Writer

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      Summer 2017 Recap

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      Summer 2017 Recap

      Planet Bee's hive has been buzzing like crazy this summer! We've been busy with summer camps, workshops, and exciting events. Here's what we've accomplished in summer 2017: 

      Summer Camps

      Farm Camp at Alemany Farm

      Planet Bee partnered with the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department to teach weekly lessons to Farm Campers at the beautiful Alemany Farm, an organic community farm in San Francisco. Farm Camp ran for 8 weeks, with  2-week-long sessions, beginning on June 19th and ending on August 4th. Every first Thursday between those dates, Planet Bee visited Alemany Farm to teach campers our Humble Honey Bee (HHB) lesson and play a rousing game of bees vs. wasps. Every second Thursday, Planet Bee led a hive dive for campers at the Golden Gate Park CommUnity Garden, where we maintain two hives. Farm Camp was a great success, and we look forward to doing it again next summer!

      Want to know more? Here's a blog post about Farm Camp, and here's the full facebook album of pictures. 

      Summer Camp at Acta Non Verba Youth Urban Farm

      Planet Bee educators Sarah and Ayla worked with adorable campers once again at our long-time partner Acta Non Verba Youth Urban Farm Camp (ANV) in Oakland this summer. Each time, we taught our HHB lesson to four groups of students of different ages. To see the full facebook album of pictures of our time at ANV, click here. 

      ACE Summer Camp at Peralta Hacienda Historical Park

      We also visited ACE Summer Camp,  located at Peralta Hacienda Historical Park in Oakland. Peralta Hacienda itself is a Spanish house built in 1870 which serves today as a historical and cultural center. On our first day, Sarah and Ayla taught the first half of our HHB lesson (pollination) to several groups of children of varying ages. On the second day, Sarah was joined by Planet Bee Board Member Jaynee Howe and her son Oliver as she taught the second half of our HHB lesson (bee biology) to campers. To see the full facebook album of pictures of ACE Summer Camp, click here. 

      Summer Scout Wilderness Camp at the Sonoma Academy of Dance & Arts

      This was our first year working with the Sonoma Academy of Dance & Arts.  Sarah and Ayla had the honor of teaching our HHB lesson to their summer campers, ranging in age from 4 to 12.  Students had a blast watching honey bees close up in our observation hive, playing pollination games, eating honey fresh off the comb and making seed balls!

      Workshops

      Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

      Early in the summer,  Executive Director Debra Tomaszewski, her husband Bill, our Master Beekeeper, our intern Nancy, and Planet Bee educator Ayla, taught a fun, interactive bee basics lesson at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, where we've had an Adopt-A-Hive program for the last 2 years. 

      Mill Valley Library

      Sarah and Ayla also taught our Humble Honey Bee workshop at Mill Valley Library in Mill Valley. Youngsters of the neighborhood were busy as bees playing games and watching our busy bees close up in the observation hive!

      The Ranch

      For the 2nd year in a row, Planet Bee has been lucky enough to work with children at the fabulous summer camp through the Belvedere / Tiburon recreation department, now called The Ranch.  Children had fun buzzing through all of our bee friendly activities!

      Workshop with SAP and Bon Apetit

      This workshop was one to remember! The whole hive drove down to SAP headquarters in Mountain View, where we ran a three-hour workshop for employees and their children. We began by teaching our bee basics lesson, distributed cute antennae headbands to kids, and played a brand-new a honey bee garden scavenger hunt. Then we joined forces with the Bon Apetit kitchen staff at SAP to help kids build their own bee-friendly parfaits! None of the ingredients of these delicious concoctions would have existed without bees and other pollinators. To see the full facebook album of pictures from this fun event, click here. 

      Beekeeping for City Slicker Farms on behalf of Clif Bar

      Planet Bee Foundation

      We were very proud when we found out that our partner Clif Bar donated some of the beehives they built during our workshop with them to City Slicker Farm in Oakland.  City Slicker Farm's admirable mission is to "empower West Oakland community members to meet the immediate and basic need for healthy fresh food for themselves and their families by creating high-yield urban farms and backyard gardens." Sarah and Ayla checked in on the health of the hive while on their way home from working at Acta Non Verba-- talk about buzzy day! Our Master Beekeeper Bill, returned to give a hands-on workshop to the staff the following weekend. We're thrilled with this bee-utiful new partnership. 

      Events

      Network Connections Inc Charity Golf Outing

      On Wednesday, June 28th, Network Connections Inc (NCI), one of our new partners, hosted a charity golf outing to support Planet Bee! The outing was held at Downington Country Club in Downington, PA. Executive Director Debra Tomaszewski and her husband Bill flew in and had a lovely time golfing and sipping wine with the friendly people of NCI. We're so grateful for NCI's  generous donation of $9,000, which will allow us to bring our educational programs to hundreds of new students in high needs schools this fall!

      Planet Bee Foundation

      San Diego Comic Con

      Planet Bee had a blast speaking on a panel called "Saving the Bees Through Art" at this year's San Diego Comic Con, on July 20 to 23. We were invited by our new partner, painter and comic book illustrator Camilla d'Errico. In the picture to the right, you can see Camilla on the left, Planet Bee Executive Director Debra Tomaszewski in the middle, and Program Director Sarah Thorson on the right. Together, these three ladies educated the public about the struggling honey bee and the role art can play in environmentalism. 

      Gravenstein Apple Fair

      apple fair.JPG

      On Saturday, August 12th, Planet Bee had a blast tabling and educating the public at the 44th annual Gravenstein Apple Fair at Ragle Ranch Park in Sebastopol, alongside our longtime partner Whole Foods Market. 

      New Corporate Partners

      • Agathist
      • Ashe Creek Bees
      • HoneyBum
      • Materials Marketing
      • Metazoa Beer
      • Phoebe8
      • Rice Coffee House
      • Smitty Bee Honey
      • Two Queen Bees Vintage
      • Virtual Strides
      • WineHive

      Staff

      New Intern, Nancy

      nancy - newsletter planet bee
      zach.jpg
      Planet Bee Foundation

      This summer, Planet Bee was overjoyed to welcome a brilliant and hilarious new intern, Nancy Luo.  She is a Bay Area native pursuing a bachelor’s in bioengineering. We were all extremely impressed with the quality of Nancy's work, and are so excited that she is staying on as our intern for another semester! Plus, she makes a mean Kombucha.

      Saying Hello to Zach

      Planet Bee is extremely excited about our new Environmental Educator Zach Parlee, who will be starting work on Monday, August 28th. Finally, we have a drone!  Zach graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he received a degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Management. He is a Teach-For-America grad who taught middle school science for two years on the Big Island of Hawaii, and spent a summer as an environmental educator for NatureBridge at Golden Gate National Recreation Area. His passion for environmental education is rooted in a belief that meaningful relationships with nature empower students to become agents of change. We can't wait to welcome him to our hive!

      Saying Goodbye to Ayla

      Sadly, your humble author will be leaving her position as Environmental Educator and Staff Writer on August 25th. I (Ayla) am not sure what I'll miss more: playing Bees vs Wasps with students, eating fresh honeycomb, or petting the saggy office basset hound, Stella. However, I am very excited for the future, as I will be starting my Master of Letters in Environment, Culture, and Communication at the University of Glasgow in Scotland this fall! I'll be one step closer to my dream of being a writer who communicates important environmental issues to the public through storytelling and other creative methods. I plan to return to the US only once I have perfected my Scottish accent and learned how to play the bagpipes. So to all of you who have read my newsletters and blogs over the past year, I say thank you so much, and goodbye (for now).

      PS. I will be staying on as a guest writer, so look out for my "Sacred Bee" series about the history of beekeeping throughout human civilization in the coming months. So no need to worry,  you'll be hearing from again soon!

       

      Written by Ayla Fudala

      Staff Writer and Environmental Educator

       

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      Back to School

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      Back to School

      The air is getting chilly, the leaves are changing color, and summer is coming to an end. Now begins Autumn, the time of year when students return to school. Backpacks are being bought, pencils are being sharpened, and new outfits are being picked out. It's the most exciting time of the year! 

       Students examine our observation hive of live bees during our Humble Honey Bee lesson

      Students examine our observation hive of live bees during our Humble Honey Bee lesson

       Students build light traps to catch ZomBees during our ZomBee Watch lesson

      Students build light traps to catch ZomBees during our ZomBee Watch lesson

      This fall, if you live in the Bay Area, why not invite Planet Bee to your child's school? Apply for our one-day Humble Honey Bee lesson, and we'll show up at your school with our hands-on educational materials, games, and honeycomb, and hive of live honey bees. Or sign up for our two to three-day ZomBee Watch Program, and watch in awe as your child engineers his or her own light trap, attempts to catch ZomBees, and reports his or her findings onto the official ZomBee Watch website, thus contributing to real scientific research!

      Schools with 50% or more of students receiving free or reduced cost lunches will receive our lessons at NO COST.  And schools with less than 50% of students receiving free or reduced cost lunches will receive a discount of 2X the percent of students receiving free or reduced cost lunches. So a school with 25% of students receiving free or reduced cost lunches would get our programs for 50% off. These sliding scale fees ensure that there is no barrier to access in our scope, and that environmental justice is upheld. 

      So sign up for our educational programs today! Give your child the once-in-a-lifetime experience of coming face to face with live bees, or conducting real scientific research. Sign up today, and set your child on the path to being a conscientious citizen, doing everything they can to maintain sustainability in the decades to come and keep the hives alive. 

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      Mission ZomBee: Accomplished!

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      Mission ZomBee: Accomplished!

      On Monday, June 5th, Planet Bee completed the pilot phase of our Remote ZomBee Watch Program with Sandwich STEM Academy on Cape Cod, Massachusetts! We are so overjoyed with the success of this program, and couldn't have asked for a better group of teachers and students to experiment with! 

      The program first began when the mother of Staff Writer and Planet Bee Educator Ayla, 7th grade science teacher Renee Fudala of Mashpee, Massachusetts, asked us whether her students could get involved in our ZomBee Watch Program. At first we thought it would be impossible, what with the 3,000 miles separating Planet Bee and Sandwich STEM Academy (SSA). But then we realized that we could teach Renee's students remotely, through a combination of skype lectures, Q&As, and sending lesson plans and materials to SSA teachers. Our remote program was a go!

      First, we had an introductory skype session with all 200 7th graders. While they sat in their auditorium, Sarah and Ayla taught the students about the importance of bees to our ecosystem and food supply, quizzed them on the three types of bees, and taught them about how the zombie flies parasitize honey bees, turning them into ZomBees. We ended the lesson by showing students a map of the world from the official ZomBee Watch website, showing them everywhere that Citizen Scientists had performed the experiment, and pointing out that they would be the first students to ever hunt ZomBees on Cape Cod! 

      Then we modified our normal ZomBee Watch lesson plans for SSA teachers to implement in their own classrooms. Building light traps became one lesson, while practicing the scientific method became the second. We sent our ZomBee and zombie fly samples to Sandwich for use in the second lesson, so that students could see them with their own eyes! We had to wait quite a while for it to warm up enough in Massachusetts for students to put their traps out, but eventually there came a spring night warm enough. Though students haven't caught any bees so far, it's still possible that they might. Students will even be able to bring home their traps this summer and set them out at home if they want! And if there are no ZomBees on the Cape, as currently seems to be the case, then that's good news for Cape Cod bees! 

      For our final skype lesson, we tailored our presentation to fit smoothly into the curriculum currently being taught by Renee and her co-teacher. This involved teaching students about taxonomy and the most common insect orders, the evolution of insects into these different orders, the co-evolution for flowers and pollinators, and the food web. We explained the process of data analysis, and reassured students that catching no ZomBees is just as significant a result as catching ZomBees would be. Finally, we introduced Professor Hafernik, ZomBee Watch founder for a Q& A! The students had a great time asking him questions, varying from "How long do zombie flies live?" to "Do bees have emotions?" to "Who would win in a swordfight, a bee or an earthworm?" Professor Hafernik answered each question easily, using his vast stores of entomological knowledge and cheerful humor, before thanking the students for their help and saying goodbye. 

      Planet Bee is so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such brilliant teachers and curious students! We couldn't have asked for a better group of test subjects for our remote program. Read on to see some of our favorite thank you notes from students! 

      Happy ZomBee Hunting!

       

      Thank You Notes from Students

      Dear Planet Bee Foundation,

      Planet Bee Foundation ZomBees

      Thank you so much for letting us participate in your research! I really enjoyed learning about ZomBees and creating traps!

      Thank you,

      Jackie

       

      Bee-cause of you, we were able to collect important data that could possibly save the bees! You are sweeter than HONEY!

      Sincerely,

      Planet Bee Foundation

      McCaela

      Planet Bee Foundation Zombees

       

      Dear Sarah and Ayla,

      Thank you so much for the bee information. I learned so much. I am so happy with all I learned. I will take this into the future. Yay I now love bees.

      Thank you.

      Planet Bee Foundation ZomBees

       

      Dear Ayla and Sarah,

      Thank you so much for spending your time on teaching us 7th graders about ZomBees and the issues that go with them. I have learned now to bee (haha, get it?) more careful and to look out for ZomBees!

      Sincerely,

      Molly

       

      Dear Science Watchers,

      I learned many things about ZomBees. I did not think these were real at first but this project changed my thinking. I learned that bees can change into exotic ZomBees. The process of this happening is amazing.

      Sincerely,

      Matt

      PS. What is a bee’s favorite haircut?

      A BUZZ cut.

       

      Dear Planet Bee Foundation,

      Thank you for the great opportunity to learn about the zombees. I got to learn not only about the zombie flies but also about bees, why they are so important, and the problems facing their population. I enjoyed making the trap and seeing what I could catch. I’m glad we didn’t find any ZomBees here!

      Thanks,

      Ari

       

      Zombies were, up until, what? 3 months ago? Just a trope of horror and survival movies, but now they’re a subject of reality, and knowlng this problem will surely cause us to uncover more of this use. All around setting up traps, learning about parasites and ecosystems too, was really interesting, and I would like to THANK YOU! For doing that.

      Wesley

       

      Dear Ayla, Sarah, and The Planet Bee Foundation,

      Thank you so much for teaching us about bees and for taking time out of your day to skype with us. I have learned so much about bees, thanks again!

      Sincerely,

      Ellen

      (P.S. Ayla, you have an amazing mom, she is one of my favorite teachers!)

      Planet Bee Foundation ZomBees
      Planet Bee Foundation ZomBee
      Planet Bee Foundation ZomBee

       

      More Bee Puns:

      1. Bee puns aren’t that great. IDK what all the BUZZ is about.

      2. Did you get stung by a bee? Don’t be a cry ba-BEE.

      3. A bee’s favorite sport is rug-BEE.

       

      Thank you for teaching us about bees and helping us experiment with Zombie bees. I learned a lot! I enjoyed building the traps. My group caught 25 midges! Even though we didn’t catch any zombie bees, we had fun! We caught moths, june bugs, beetles, midges and more! Again thank you!

      From,

      Tara

       

      Thank you so much for taking the time to teach us about zombees! I didn’t know much about bees before and now I want to save them!

      Thanks again,

      Nadia

      Planet Bee Foundation ZomBee Watch
      Planet Bee Foundation ZomBees

       

      We at Planet Bee feel so grateful to have such clever, compassionate, artistic, and hilarious students! After reading these thank you notes, we'll never consider ourselves experts of bee puns again. These 7th graders are the true bee-lievers! 

       

      Written by Ayla Fudala

      Staff Writer and Environmental Educator

       

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      Farm Camp at Alemany Farm

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      Farm Camp at Alemany Farm

       Ayla teaches campers about the concept of INTERDEPENDENCE

      Ayla teaches campers about the concept of INTERDEPENDENCE

      This summer, Planet Bee is overjoyed to be partnering with the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department to teach a weekly lesson to Farm Campers at the beautiful Alemany Farm, an organic community farm right off of Alemany Boulevard. Farm Camp will be running for 8 weeks, with  2-week-long sessions, beginning on June 19th and ending on August 4th. Every Thursday between those dates, Planet Bee will be visiting Alemany Farm for an hour to teach kids about our favorite pollinators!

       Campers examine our hands-on samples

      Campers examine our hands-on samples

      On the first Thursday of each session, Planet Bee teaches our Humble Honey Bee lesson to campers, introducing them to the three types of bees, the mechanics of pollination, hive behavior, and colony collapse and its causes. As always, we  bring an observation hive of live bees, tabletop games, and samples of bees, wax, and pollen, ensuring deep engagement through hands-on learning. 

      Then comes the funnest part of the lesson-- a complex game, similar to Sharks vs Minnows, invented by Planet Bee Educator Ayla. This game pits two hives of bees against one another- the red hive and the blue hive- and tries to see which hive can gather the most nectar. But there's a twist: two yellowjackets, who can tag the bees, forcing them to drop their nectar and return to the hive for 5 seconds. However, the bees are not totally without defenses. If three or more bees surround a yellowjacket and tag it, the yellowjacket must sit out for a full minute. Students loved this "Bees vs Wasps" so much that they demanded we bring back the materials for the game next Thursday, so that they could have a rematch! 

       A yellowjacket tries to tag a bee while he gathers nectar

      A yellowjacket tries to tag a bee while he gathers nectar

       Two campers having fun in their beesuits

      Two campers having fun in their beesuits

       A camper holds Sebastian, our (briefly) pet drone!

      A camper holds Sebastian, our (briefly) pet drone!

      On the second Thursday of each session, farm campers take a field trip to the CommUnity Garden at Golden Gate Park, where Planet Bee has two hives. Campers put on bee suits and our educators  lead them on a hive dive, teaching them the basics of beekeeping. We taught this lesson for the first time this Thursday. Our campers loved wearing the beesuits, running around pretending they were astronauts! They were in awe when Sarah and Ayla opened up the hive, showing them a frame of honey from the honey super, and a frame full of larvae from the brood box. And they were overjoyed to get to hold a fuzzy drone in their bare hands, which Ayla named Sebastian after her cat!

      Then students made seed balls with California poppy seeds, soil, and clay. When they planted their seed balls, our campers became environmental stewards, taking individual action to help the bees by providing them with a healthy food source.  Next, they got to taste fresh honeycomb, learning about how bees turn honey into nectar, how honey never goes bad, how humans have been harvesting honey for more than 9,000 years, and lots of other fun facts. Finally, we had time for a rematch of Bees vs Wasps, which ended in a tie after one of the hives full of nectar was accidentally knocked over. It was a blast for campers and teachers alike, and we can't wait to teach Farm Camp again next Thursday!

      Planet Bee Foundation

      The organic farming practiced at Alemany Farm is one great way to help protect bees. We at Planet Bee feel so lucky to be able to spend time at this gorgeous and inspirational garden, which brings communities together and spreads the message of healthy food and a healthy planet. And  it's not too late to sign up!

      Click here to apply to join the waitlist for Farm Camp at Alemany Farm!

      Just use the search bar to find "Urban Farm Camp". 

      We hope to see you there! Until then, happy farming.

      Written by Ayla Fudala

      Staff Writer and Environmental Educator

       

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      Spring 2017 Recap

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      Spring 2017 Recap

      This spring has certainly been a busy one for Planet Bee. We've worked at a variety of events, taught thousands of students, and even ran a 5K! Here's the update on what your favorite hive of worker bees has been up to. 

      TEACHING

      From the beginning of March to the end of May, Planet Bee educators have taught our Humble Honey Bee lesson at 20 schools, reaching more than 2,500 students.

       A student at Prestwood Elementary in Sonoma plays "Queen Bee"!

      A student at Prestwood Elementary in Sonoma plays "Queen Bee"!

      We also completed the pilot phase of our ZomBee Watch program, teaching Days 1-3 of our curriculum at schools across the Bay Area!

      Our teachers Sarah and Ayla created an alternate Day 3 lesson for students who didn't catch any ZomBees (good news for the bees!), which involved examining the insects they did catch, classifying them by order, recording and graphing their data, and analyzing their results. By the end of June we will have completed the pilot phase of our remote ZomBee Watch program as well, when we have our final skype session with 250 7th graders at Sandwich STEM Academy in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. 

       Ayla examines the insects caught by students' light traps at La Tercera Elementary in Petaluma

      Ayla examines the insects caught by students' light traps at La Tercera Elementary in Petaluma

      EVENTS

      California Academy of Sciences Pollinator Festival

      For 6 Sundays in a row, from March 19th to April 23rd, Planet Bee tabled at Cal Academy. We brought along our observation hive of live bees, our popular tabletop pollination game, our hands-on educational materials, and materials for seed-ball making. Estimating that about 500 people a day visited our table, we reached 3,000 children and adults, inspiring them to take individual action to help save the bees!

      Burroughs Family Farms Run Happy Bee Happy 5K Run

      Our amazing partner Benina Montes hosted a 5K Run and day of fun in the sun to raise money for Planet Bee! We had a wonderful time hanging out with the petting zoo (Debra particularly loved the camel!), chowing down on delicious organic fare, raffling off a beehive and some honey in the silent auction, and watching the race! 

      California Honey Festival

      We were overjoyed when we were asked to table and give public presentations at the California Honey Festival in Woodland. There was honey galore, live music, a man in a bee suit, and delicious food. Our educators Sarah and Ayla took center stage and put on a performance for the kids which walked them through the life stages of a honey bee and the three types of games, before ending with a pollination game in which the audience joined! Both girls were able to unleash their passions-- Sarah, who majored in Dance, did some fantastic interpretive dancing, while Ayla, who majored in English and loves creative writing, told the story.  Fun was had by all!

      UC Davis Bee Symposium

      We were so proud to be invited to this prestigious and exclusive symposium! We learned way more about bees than we'd ever imagined, from experts hailing from across the globe. Our favorite presentation was done by a Harvard Professor who had devised a way to monitor the movements of individual bumble bees by attaching QR codes to their fuzzy backs! Then we got on stage, and told the audience all about our new ZomBee Watch classroom program. It heartened us to know how many brilliant people are working day and night to study bees and find ways to save them!

      Community Picnic: Fruit and Veggie Fest

      Planet Bee had a blast at this fun-filled event, hosted by the Marin Health and Wellness Center to educate the residents of Marin's Canal District about healthy eating options. There was dancing, more mascots than we'd ever seen in our lives, delicious food, a singer crooning Spanish love songs, and Zumba! 

      Other events we visited included the Environmental Youth Forum of San Rafael, where we met some live bats and a group of brilliant middle schoolers who started their own nonprofit called Heirs to Our Ocean; and Google Earth Day

      We are so proud of all our progress. It couldn't have been done without you! But our mission is far from over.

      As long as the bees consider to struggle, we will be working tirelessly to educate the public about this important issue and create the next generation of environmental stewards.  This fall, we want to teach at least another 3,000 students, and to provide our lessons to high need schools at no cost, ensuring environmental justice. But to do that we need your support. Please consider donating to Planet Bee today! Every $10 you donate allows us to inspire another child to love bees and protect the environment.

      Join us as we change the world-- one bee and one student at a time!

      Written by Ayla Fudala

      Staff Writer and Environmental Educator

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      Congratulations Graduates!

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      Congratulations Graduates!

       Joelle and Shane graduate from San Francisco State University

      Joelle and Shane graduate from San Francisco State University

      It's that time of year again- when all the hardworking college students are rewarded for their years of study with a degree! It's a bittersweet time for us at Planet Bee. We're so proud of our amazing interns from San Francisco State University- Joelle,  Shane, and Nicole- and we know that they will go on to accomplish amazing things out there in the wide world. But we're going to miss them! These bees are leaving the hive, and it won't be the same without them. 

      Joelle, the anime fan and bug nerd who is never without a smile, is our longest alumna. She and Shane are pictured to the right. Joelle spent two years with Planet Bee, doing incredible work as our Program Coordinator. She has done everything from teaching, to writing lesson plans, to social media posts, to communications with corporate partners, to scheduling hundreds of school visits and events.  She is so dedicated and punctual that one time she actually rode her scooter three miles through the rain at 5 AM to get to work on time!

      Last summer Shane worked as Planet Bee's Teaching Fellow. Along with Joelle, Professor John Hafernik and the ZomBee Watch team, and SF State University's Center for Science and Math Education, Shane helped to create the curriculum for our cutting-edge new ZomBee Watch classroom program. He impressed us all with his extensive knowledge of entomology and his commitment to excellence. In part, we have Shane to thank for the overwhelming success of ZomBee Watch!

      Last but most certainly not least, there's Nicole, our cheerful jack-of-all trades. Nicole is always ready to brighten your day with her laughter and take on any task that is thrown her way with tenacity and spirit. She never missed an event, and was an incredible administrative assistant. We can't wait to see what this doctor-in-the-making will tackle next! 

      These three have given so much of their time to making Planet Bee the thriving nonprofit it is today. And so we congratulate them on their graduation, thank them for all their amazing work, and wish them un-bee-lievable futures! 

       Nicole looking fabulous at graduation!

      Nicole looking fabulous at graduation!

      Written by Ayla Fudala
      Planet Bee Educator and Staff Writer

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      Happy Mother's Day!

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      Happy Mother's Day!

      Hello, and Happy Mother's Day!

      Today we pay homage to the women who brought us into life, who rocked us in their arms and sang to us and taught us not to be afraid. Today we express our gratitude for all the years our mothers have spent-- and may still spend-- caring for us, comforting us, teaching us, and worrying about us. 

      In the beehive, every aspect of life is dependent upon the Queen Bee, the mother of all. She is waited upon, fed and cleaned by all her worker bees, and all turn to look at her when she passes. There can be no hive without a Queen Bee, and no life without a mother to create it.

      There are many lessons we can learn from the bees. Today, why not show your mother how grateful you are for her love?  

      As the poet George Cooper wrote: 

      Hundreds of dewdrops to greet the dawn,
      Hundreds of bees in the purple clover,
      Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn,
      But only one mother the wide world over.

      Written by Ayla Fudala
      Planet Bee Educator and Staff Writer

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