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2020 Spring Recap & World Environment Day



2020 has been an inspiring reminder of the incredible resilience and adaptability of humans. Here at Planet Bee, we are in awe of the teachers who have taken on the remarkable task of rapidly adapting to distance learning. We are truly inspired by the community programs constantly popping up to assist our neighbors. Despite being apart for a portion of the year, we feel a great sense of togetherness and we look forward to continuing this path of change and growth with you.


Usually at this time of the year, our education programs would be in full swing. We would have engaged with thousands of children and adults, and they would have engaged with thousands of honey bees! Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of events were canceled including our scheduled school lessons for the spring, our educational tabling program at the California Academy of Science, a plethora of community and corporate events, a video project with Hulu, and our 5k run fundraiser.


We look forward to when we can return to the classroom and events in-person, but we’re extremely proud to offer a new distance learning program for students in the 2020-2021 school year and a hands-on “Together At Home” program for corporations. Stay tuned for our formal announcement soon!


A Bay Area student made this project after learning about bees from a Planet Bee virtual lesson in the teacher’s packet.

Though our in-person programs have been on pause, we have continued our mission of inspiring the next generation of green-minded environmental stewards by creating fun and meaningful education programs for students and teachers, from a distance. We did this in part by adapting our ecoliteracy lesson about honey bees, the Humble Honey Bee, into a virtual teacher’s packet for 117 Bay Area educators that were scheduled to receive Planet Bee visits this spring for 3500 students!


We also provided those classrooms with two virtual Hive Dive Lives for Earth Week where we explored the inside of a live bee hive and answered questions from students. Then, from those live broadcasts, we created a dynamic streamlined video lesson that we shared with a wider net of schools and partners.


Beekeeper Bill shows students the inner working of a honey bee hive thru online lessons with teachers

Beyond the resources we provided to our local school community, we donated 155 native bee house STEM kits to emergency child care organizations! We dropped off 120 of the hands-on kits to San Francisco Rec and Park’s emergency child care locations and 35 kits to Portland, Oregon’s emergency child care location at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. The bee house structures for these kits were built and donated by corporate volunteers from Hulu, Bitly, and Equinix.


Instructional video for distance learning with student’s to discover how to create their Native Bee STEM kits while in Emergency Care Centers

Program Director Haley assembles 120 Native Bee STEM kits in San Francisco

STEM Kits packed in her car & ready for SF Rec & Parks Emergency Childcare Centers

More kits get packed up for a scenic road trip to Haley’s hometown in Oregon

Success! Kits are safely delivered it to OMSI serving as an Emergency Childcare Center

As we have all experienced, this pandemic has presented many challenges to buzz around. However, it has also provided us with new opportunities and avenues for a greater number of people to learn about bees and their important role in our environment, as well as simple ways to help our precious planet together. We look forward to the coming months, as we believe they will bring an opportunity unlike any before to “reset”.


Throughout this global crisis, many have found solace through nature. We want to appreciate this support provided by mother nature by celebrating World Environment Day and acknowledge the positive environmental impacts that have arisen as a result of COVID-19.


Photo Credit: Lyndsey Pool - http://apiaryartist.com/

As a significant number of people have been required to stay at home, vehicular traffic has taken a significant plunge, which has resulted in a decrease in pollution. For example, the United Kingdom has seen a significant reduction in traffic as it has “plunged by 73%”. Because of the incredible decrease in aviation travel as well, “aviation emissions—which accounted for 2.4% of global CO2 emissions in 2018, according to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) — have dropped significantly” (1). Reduced aviation and car traffic are not the only factors that have caused a decrease in air pollution, as the closure of many factories and the halt of production as a result of reduced demand has also helped.


Decreased air pollution benefits the bees’ foraging as “pollution-modified plant odors can confuse bees and, as a result, bees’ foraging time increases and pollination efficiency decreases” (2). Even though COVID-19 has shaken the globe, it is important to note the silver linings like the improvement of our air quality, thus allowing bees to better serve the ecosystem.


The pandemic has also allowed those at home more time to appreciate nature and time with family. Many have taken up gardening, which provides resources for bees such as food and habitat. As shelter-in-place orders begin to lift and we reintegrate into a “normal” society, it is important to remember that these positive changes are not only possible, but especially important for our mental health, the health of the planet, and the health of bees!


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Written by Layla Dargahi & Haley Todd


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