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Teacher champions bees

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Honouring bees on World Bee Day, May 20th hasn’t been just a one-day event. It’s been a month-long endeavor for Miss Moule’s Grade 3 class at Opasquia School. It started out with each student researching one of a selection of 20,000 amazing bee species from around the world. They have learned that when they see a bee flying around it’s not just a regular honey bee they are looking at, it could be a Red-tailed Bee, a Blueberry Bee, a Mason Bee, a Carder Bee or one of the many other bees that light upon a dandelion, tulip or lavender flower.
Activities continued with a special visit from Lynda Geswin, whose son started up a thriving bee colony in their backyard. They have been collecting honey and wax for three years now with great success. “It took a lot of learning how to keep bees,” Geswin admitted. Now their hive is strong.
The students learned about the tools that a beekeeper uses and what a hive box looks like. Geswin explained that the bees fill the cones with different things, depending on need. Sometimes there are bee eggs in there, sometimes a queen bee (who only gets fed royal jelly), or it could be food storage. The Geswins make sure to leave more than enough honey the bee colony needs to stay alive and thrive, especially during the winter.
Allowing students to explore and appreciate bees is important to Miss Moule because it emphasizes the gravity and value in preserving their habitat and making sure the bees are healthy. The students are learning to do their part to be good stewards of the environment. Students have also learned that 46 species of bees are listed as endangered, while seven additional ones are listed as critically endangered.
This is important news because without bees our food sources would dwindle. Bees are important pollinators. They pollinate wheat, fruits and vegetables, among other plants. Scientists are working diligently to figure out what is causing this catastrophic occurrence. They have come up with several causes, including pesticide use, unusually harsh weather conditions, and degradation of habitat.
Later this coming week, Miss Moule’s Grade 3 class will be designing and making Carder Bee homes. They will learn what building materials are best to use and where Carder Bees like to live. There are many kinds of bees that live in The Pas but Carder Bee hives are fairly simple to make. If the community wishes to do their part to make sure local bees thrive, they can sow bee-friendly plant seeds such as coneflower, lavender, white aster, goldenrod, raspberry or blueberry bushes, and leave those dandelions alone! Bees, and other pollinators, love the dandelions.