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Our Bee-utiful School Year Ended with A Bang. Pandemic Edition - Part Two!


Pennsylvania Farm Show Community Education Program
Pennsylvania Farm Show Community Education Program

As another school year comes to a close, we at Planet Bee must take time to harvest; let’s collect our thoughts along with all that honey! Here, we’ll spend just a moment reflecting, celebrating, and looking forward.


This season sure has been a bee-zy one! Planet Bee has continued to work in schools and communities across the globe, providing schools with standards-based environmental STEM education as well as connecting corporations through dynamic team-building workshops, both virtually and onsite. Our amazing staff has worked tirelessly throughout this school year to expand our hive, serve more communities and schools, grow our education programs, and welcome new partners in the states - and around the world. We’re just buzzing with excitement about what’s ahead!


Our Hybrid STEM Education Program provides differentiated standards-based, cross-curricular STEM lessons that center around the bee and are tailored to the needs of the classroom. Our lessons align with Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core.


We teach about the importance of bees to our food systems and ecosystems as a pathway to conservation and STEM fields, cultivating the green leaders of tomorrow through the power of science and stewardship. Students and educators receive asynchronous video lessons, real-time synchronous STEM lessons taught by our certified teachers, professional development workshops, differentiated supplementary material, and stewardship projects.


Planet Bee’s Native Bee Citizen Science Project
Planet Bee’s Native Bee Citizen Science Project

This year, we launched 3 dynamic hands-on stewardship programs. They include our Native Bee Citizen Science Program (launching in September), Seed Ball Kit Grant, and Stewardship Day Program. These dynamic programs connect students, nonprofits, and local community organizations directly to nature and empower them to take action for the bees and other pollinators through conservation projects.


 We are proud to announce that we have impacted 43,000+ students and community members with Seed Ball Kit Grant. This unique Stewardship Grant Program provides schools with enough materials (noninvasive seeds, clay, and soil) to create 900 seed balls, growing over 9000 flowers as healthy food for bees and other local pollinators.


In our commitment to social justice, our STEM lessons will also soon include a Spanish translation to better serve ELL students!


Our Adopt-A-Hive Program has continued to buzz on in California at Visitation Valley Middle School, Francisco Middle School, Marin Catholic High School, San Francisco Rec and Parks Department at Herons Head EcoCenter, Guadalupe River Park Conservancy, Hacienda Peralta, Sisterhood Gardens, Sutro Towers, Stanford University, Google, SAP, Keller Estate Winery and The East Bay International German School. Students, corporations, and community members are suiting up and have been enjoying the sweet rewards of working with honey bees close up as they go elbow-deep in the hive!


California Academy of Sciences Wander Woods Exhibit
California Academy of Sciences Wander Woods Exhibit

We are proud to have provided our educational tabling program this spring at The California Academy of Science for 6 weeks as part of their Wonder Woods Exhibit. Our new STEM Educator and staff entomologist Dr. Jason Graham was invited to give a lecture about honey bees during Thursday’s Nightlife’s Buggin’ Out Program to kick off their new exhibit called Bugs.


This spring, we also had the pleasure of educating local communities at the Oakland Zoo Earth Day Celebration, STEM Frenzy at City College in San Francisco, Berkeley Library, and Golden Gate Nation Park Conservancy Urban Trailblazers Program.


Philadelphia Beekeeper, Dave Harrod, at Eastwick Garden Hives with custom painted hives by Nina Harrod
Philadelphia Beekeeper, Dave Harrod, at Eastwick Garden Hives with custom painted hives by Nina Harrod
Artist, Gloria Martin, Beehive Artist at The GIANT Company HQ Apiary
Artist, Gloria Martin, Beehive Artist at The GIANT Company HQ Apiary
PA Beekeeper, Mike Poe,  at The GIANT Company HQ Apiary
PA Beekeeper, Mike Poe, at The GIANT Company HQ Apiary

Now for our Pennsylvania Buzz! We are beyond thrilled and honored to join in the important work of The GIANT Company’s Healing Our Planet Initiative. With their generous donation, we educated students and community members in 4 states, provided Seed Ball Kit Grants to schools and nonprofits, implemented a Beekeepers-in-Need Grant Program for local PA beekeepers, and installed new apiaries in Harrisburg, PA at The Bridge, in Eastwick Garden in Philadelphia, and at the GIANT Direct Warehouse in Philadelphia. Beehives are custom-painted by Nina Harrod, art student at Temple University. We also started an apiary of 9 beehives, painted and designed by local artist Gloria Martin at The GIANT Company Headquarters in Carlisle, PA.


In April, Executive Director and Founder, Debra Tomaszewski had the pleasure of educating shoppers as she chatted with company nutritionist, Joni Rampolla, about everything bees and honey on The GIANT Company podcast Table Talk.


Julie Reed, STEM Educator
Julie Reed, STEM Educator

STEM educators and PA Beekeeper Mike Poe were delighted to educate team members at the first annual #PollinatorWeek Celebration at The GIANT Company headquarters. It was our privilege to work with students and community members this year in Pennsylvania schools, summer camps, libraries, nonprofits, YMCA’s, Girls and Boys Club, YWCA’s, Penn State’s Chief Science Officers Program, STEM Engine of Central PA, FrAY Ecosystems, The Pennsylvania Farm Show, Girls on the Run at Miller Center, home school programs and Remake Learning Days, to name a few!


We are proud to have served over 10,000 individuals at our educational tabling program in local communities in Pennsylvania and California this past school year!


Melissa Marazas, STEM Educator
Melissa Marazas, STEM Educator

We’ve expanded our hive this spring and are thrilled to welcome four new STEM educators to our team! In Pennsylvania, we are joined by Julie Reed and Melissa Marazas. Julie comes to us with 20 years of experience working as an elementary teacher and was awarded the Teacher of the Year award from the Manheim School District last year. Melissa brings with her 10 years of experience as a classroom teacher and math specialist in the Philadelphia School System. She is a Teach for America alum, Fulbright Scholar, and received the Virtual Teacher of the Year award during the Coronavirus pandemic.


Dr. Jason Graham, STEM Educator and Staff Entomologist
Dr. Jason Graham, STEM Educator and Staff Entomologist

Our California educator’s hive includes Dr. Jason Graham, Ph.D., and Shelia Afnan. Dr. J, as he is fondly referred to, is a STEM educator and our staff entomologist, with experience educating students from kindergarten through the college level. He has been involved in countless community projects and science programs throughout his career and recently received the Teacher of the Year Award from Statford Schools, where he was a 7th-grade science teacher.  Shelia Afnan comes to us from the Oakland School District where she was a middle school science teacher. Sheila received her master’s degree from UC Berkeley in Secondary Education, focusing on The Next Generation Science Standards, and was a Trellis Education Teacher Scholar!


Sheila Afnan, STEM Educator
Sheila Afnan, STEM Educator

Before we close the hive on 2022, It is with utmost gratitude and respect that everyone here at Planet Bee sends a special thanks to all those making our work possible! We appreciate each of our partners, donors, and grant-makers tremendously!


We send a huge thanks to our corporate partners and grant-makers: The GIANT Company, Cisco, Google, SAP, BeeSure America, Western Digital, NVidia, Adobe, Equinix, JohnnyWas, Kin & Carta, Marsh, Applied Material, KIND Snacks, Burroughs Family Farm, Jumping Jo, Shire City, Clif Bar, Epic Games, The Food Group, Krispy Kreme Donuts, Survey Monkey, Rice Coffeehouse, Rhea Bikini, Mission Pets, The Manitou Fund, The Mydar Foundation, Joseph and Vera Long Foundation, Clif Bar Foundation, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Dream Makerz Foundation, and Good Gigs Foundation. Your generosity has allowed us to continue our mission to change the world - one bee and one mind at a time!    

                




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Written by The Planet Bee Team!

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