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Looking Back on 2022: Another un-BEE-lievable Year in Review!

Updated: May 24

As another year comes to a close and wintertime is upon us, it offers us a period of reflection, allowing us to look back on what we have accomplished in the past 12 months. Similarly to humans, bees tend to stay in their hives during the colder months, using this time to revitalize their colonies in preparation for the new year to come. Here at Planet Bee, we embrace both approaches - we reflect, we refocus, and we prepare for whatever challenges and opportunities the new year may bring us. Over the course of the year, we continued to provide environmental education to the next generation’s sustainable leaders by working with students and teachers across the country. We also maintained our commitment to social justice by providing these lessons at NO COST to schools and nonprofits thanks to our generous donors and grantmakers. From expanding our mission by developing new programs to forming new partnerships with green-minded companies, we kept buzz-y like the bee and soared to new heights.

This year, we impacted over 75,000 individuals in both the U.S. and Canada through our STEM lessons, Seedball Stewardship Kits, Educational Tabling Program, Adopt-A-Hive Program, Professional Development Program, and Corporate and Native Bee Citizen Science Program!

We taught over 20,000 students virtually in the classroom through our Hybrid Environmental STEM Education Program, which aligns with The Next Generation Science Standards as well as The Common Core, ensuring that our future leaders in sustainability are equipped with the best educational options available. Through this program, educators have access to professional development workshops, real-time virtual STEM lessons taught by our certified teachers, individual video lessons, scripted lesson plans, differentiated supplemental material, and our Native Bee Citizen Science Projects. We updated our synchronous STEM lessons and created mini-lessons to adapt to schools’ new modes of teaching, giving students yet another opportunity to interact with our curriculum. To top it off, we also invite local beekeepers to schools for classroom visits! All of these educational avenues keep our students engaged, allowing them to bee-come the best version of themselves from inside the classroom!

Over 42,000 students and community members participated in our Seed Ball Stewardship Kit Program Grant, giving them the chance to plant flowers to support their local pollinators! This grant opens up for 2023 in January! Planet Bee provides schools with enough materials to create 900 seed balls. These seed balls will yield over 9000 flowers, creating a sense of wonder and greenery at the school and providing our fuzzy friends with another food source.

While there is always comfort in familiarity, it is crucial to go bee-yond your comfort zone. As such, we launched multiple new programs, including the Beekeepers in Education Program and the Native Bee Citizen Science Project. The Beekeepers in Education Program will kick off in late January. Through this initiative, beekeepers will be able to visit schools and nonprofits with bees in observation hives. Planet Bee will host a live Virtual Orientation Workshop followed by a monthly series of webinars in order to continuously train beekeepers on how to engage and work with students and community organizations.

The Native Bee Citizen Science Project allows students to participate in citizen science while supporting local bee and pollinator populations. As part of the program, students and teachers have the opportunity to participate in virtual lessons taught by Planet Bee STEM educator and staff entomologist Dr. Jason Graham as well as create and keep native bee homes on campus. Students can then conduct research on the hives by collecting data and using scientific methods. Through these projects, our young green stewards get the chance to study bee populations, and better understand how to protect our fuzzy friends for years to come! If this doesn’t pique your interest, we recommend you take a look at our Zombie Watch Citizen Science Project or the Bee Safari options. 

Companies are also more than welcome to register and apply for our Citizen Science programs.  Interested in learning more, bee proactive and buzz over to this link to check out all the programs we have to offer!

Bee-yond our wide range of student-centered activities, Planet Bee also offers corporate programs for companies interested in working with us. This year, we continued our popular Virtual Honey Tasting Workshops, shipping honey directly to participants’ homes who wished to learn about the inner workings of a beehive while remotely mingling with coworkers. What is better than some sweet honey and socialization? Sign us up!

We also continued offering the Native Bee House Building workshop and the Adopt-A-Hive Program to corporations and companies alike. The Native Bee House Building can be organized either remotely or in person. In the allotted time, volunteers create STEM kits that contain the tools needed to build a native bee house. Kits will then be donated to parks, community centers, and schools. Team members will also have the opportunity to observe a live hive, make seed balls, and taste some honey! 

Our Virtual Honey Tasting Workshops is open to organizations around the world

If you’d like to keep a live hive around all the time, we recommend you check out our Adopt-A-Hive program. Join companies such as Google, Sutro Tower Google, SAP, Keller Estates Winery, and the GIANT Company PA who already house a Planet Bee hive on their corporate campus, with Genentech, Cisco, and Funko joining the ranks! The program comes with beehive installation and bee basics lessons, giving team members the chance to suit up and observe the bees up close. One beehive can house up to 60,000 bees, greatly increasing local pollination and awareness about the importance of bees. Help make your local area flower and bloom by adopting a hive today!

The Adopt-A-Hive program has made quite the buzz outside of the corporate world as well. In California alone, we partnered with Sisterhood Gardens, Marin Catholic High School, Peralta Hacienda, Visa Valley Middle School, Francisco Middle School, Stanford University, Guadalupe River Conservancy, and San Francisco Rec and Parks - Heron's Head and were able to host live hives at all these locations. Our Adopt-A-Hive reach also transcended borders, enabling us to partner with two Pennsylvania-based initiatives, Harrisburg City Farm at The Bridge and Eastwick Gardens in Philadelphia. 

Thanks to the hard work of our staff, Adopt-A-Hive was not our only successful community program this year. Through our partnership with SF Rec and Parks, we were able to set up Native Bee Citizen Science Projects for En2Action as well as another separate project for the Golden Gate National Recreation Conservancy.

We were thrilled to educate over 15,000 community members at public events during Earth Month at the California Academy of Sciences, The Oakland Zoo, The Bay Area Science Festival STEM Frenzy, and The Berkeley Library in California. In Pennsylvania, we were able to offer our programs to Downingtown Library, YMCA (Reading Berks County), Brownies, Apple Festival in New Cumberland, Insectarium, Ronald McDonald House Philadelphia, Iron Pigs Baseball Allentown, Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art/Honey Bee Day Declarations Day with PA Department of Agriculture, and Elizabethtown Fair all thanks to our gracious sponsor the GIANT Company. Through their support, students and local communities in PA, VA, WV, and MD received our lessons at no cost! Planet Bee is so grateful for all of these new and old connections, and we cannot wait to see what next year brings for our partners and programs. 

We already have plenty to look forward to next year. Planet Bee will be attending the PA Farm Show in January and the Philadelphia Flower Show in March. If you are in the area, we would bee so lucky to get the chance to see you! Stay tuned for more events by checking out our website throughout the year. 

As the year comes to a close, we’d like to thank our corporate partners, donors, grantmakers, volunteers, and interns for making everything we do possible!

A gigantic thank you and shoutout to CodeCrew, an email marketing agency based in the Bay Area, for their generous in-kind donation that includes sending out bee-utiful newsletters each week! 

A special thank you to our corporate partners whose funds support our Hybrid STEM programs in schools for no cost in our commitment to social justice and equity:  The GIANT Company, Adobe, Applied Materials, BeeSure, Brightly, Burrough Family Farms, California Academy of Sciences, Cisco, Clif Bar, CodeCrew, Common Luxury LLC, Crown Bees, Epiic Games, Equinix, Genentech, Give to Get, Google, Grey Matter Marketing, Johnny Was, JumpOff Jo, Kappa Delta Pi, Keller Estate, Kin & Carta, Kind Snacks, Krispy Kreme, Marsh, Mission Pets, Rhea, Bikinis, SAP, SJEscapes and San Jose Site Council, Stanford University, Survey Monkey, Sutro Tower, Thundersoft, and Wilson Sonsini Law Firm.

A huge thank you to our grantmakers for their generous grantmakers of supporting Planet Bee’s STEM programs over the course of the past year. Thank you to Western Digital, Dream Makerz Foundation, Amazon Smile, American Online Giving Foundation, Inc., Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Fidelity Charitable, Manitou Fund, Mydar Foundation, PayPal Giving Fund, The Robert M Schiffman Foundation, Inc., and UK Online Giving Foundation. 

Dr. Jason Graham, Planet Bee Program Director, at our corporate team-building workshop in Sonoma, CA

Another special thank you to our team for bee-ing on top of everything and constantly raising the bar. Thank you to our educators, our beekeepers, our volunteers, and our interns for making our workplace light and fun and for being the best bee advocates imaginable. 

Lastly, thank you to our individual donors! Your contributions help us educate and nurture the next generation of sustainable leaders. We wouldn’t be able to usher in this new age of environmental stewardship without all of you!

Written by Simona Shur

Former Planet Bee Intern

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