2018 has flown by! As the year comes to a close, we’re recounting of some of our highlights from this bee-utiful year.
We spent the summer creating some new and exciting lessons for schools. We wanted to give students more opportunities to learn about bees and the environment, while also exposing them to STEM. If you’re unfamiliar with STEM, it stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and is a really important part of preparing students to become future problem solvers and critical thinkers. Our new lessons include Bee-ometry, where students use math and inquiry to explore why bees build hexagons, and Wanna-Bee an Engineer?, where students become engineers and design and build their own native bee houses! With a total of nine lessons, we’re sure teachers will find one that gets their class buzzing.
We had seven amazing interns join our team. Each new intern brings a fresh perspective to the office, which helps keep energy alive and ideas in motion, much like a buzzing hive. This year’s interns helped us roll out some pretty important projects, including the development of our new Environmental-STEM school programs, and getting the word out about our first annual fundraiser. Not to mention, they’re amazing when it comes to interfacing with folks at community events throughout the Bay Area. We couldn’t have asked for better additions to our hive!
Speaking of members of our hive, we also welcomed entomologist and bee expert, Dr. Jason Graham to our staff! Just as we were looking for ways to expand our reach beyond schools and towards the community at large, Jason came to us with expertise in running beekeeping and bee-themed workshops. We’re so lucky now to have Jason working with a growing cohort of future beekeepers and bee-enthusiasts, proving that anyone can join in the movement towards environmental stewardship.
We launched two new workshop programs for the community—Introduction to Beekeeping Workshops, and Bee-Themed Field Trips! This means that learners of all ages can now get involved in the movement to protect our pollinators and become environmental stewards. Whether you’re looking to start beekeeping and need the basic skills, or want to explore the wide world of bees by traveling to bee-themed venues and learning from local experts, we’re sure to have something for you. Check out our upcoming workshops, led by Dr. Jason Graham!
We held our first annual fundraiser at the beautiful Keller Estate Winery, where guests suited up for a hive dive, helped harvest fresh honey, and enjoyed exquisite Keller Estate wines. Special guests included esteemed entomologist, Dr. John Hafernik, and acclaimed wine expert, Wilfred Wong. Thanks to everyone’s support, we raised $8,000, and are now able to offer our programs at no cost to 500 students in high needs schools in the Bay Area!
Finally, we were chosen as finalists for the UL Innovative Education Award, which highlights innovative Environmental-STEM education programs in the United States. We are so honored to be recognized for our commitment to providing robust and meaningful opportunities in STEM, bees, and the environment for youth. We look forward to continuing and expanding our work for many years to come!
Thank you to all supporters of environmental education, STEM education, pollinators, and youth. Your support truly makes a difference, and none of our work could be possible without YOU.
Here’s to a new year of growth and continued impact in our community and bee-yond.
Written by Zach Parlee
Planet Bee Educator, Staff Writer and Community Outreach