Full Bloom Apiaries



Westerly Sun, The (RI)  

Published: April 23, 2009

What's the buzz?


- Children are given seeds by the Garden Club as part of the Great Sunflower Project, a national effort.


Sun Staff Writer


Earth Day provided North Stonington Elementary students the chance to be part of a national bee-tracking project.

The school's theme for Earth Day, "How Humans Affect Wildlife," informed students about the decreasing bee population and its affect on the future.

picture of kids Pitcture Caption: North Stonington Elementary School kindergarden students, from left, Billy Cibarich, Lukas Jones and Ruy Fernandex-Autran react Wednesday as Alan Holmberg, below, of Full Bloom Apiaries in Franklin, Conn., shows them a clony and discusses how declining bee populations could affect them in the future.

Alan Holmberg, a beekeeper from Full Bloom Apiaries in Franklin , Conn. , spoke to three groups of students on Wednesday about different types of bees, how a hive works and most importantly, how bees are beneficial for humans. The North Stonington Garden Club sponsored Holmberg's visit and lecture.


Holmberg explained that bees are one of the few species of insects that pollinate trees, flowering plants and crops, but now their numbers are dwindling. He noted that Albert Einstein once said that if bees became extinct, humans would follow within four years. Barbara Young of the Garden Club spoke to the students, and explained that experts are not completely sure why bees are disappearing. She told them about the Great Sunflower Project being conducted by San Francisco State University and invited them to participate in this work.


Young then gave each student a packet of sunflower seeds to plant. She asked that, once the sunflowers have blossomed, students observe the flowers for 30 minutes or until five bees show up - whichever happens first - then record their data on the project Web site, www.greatsunflower.org, first - then record their data on the project Web site, www.greatsunflower.org, or by e-mail. By watching and recording the number of bees at the sunflower, she said, students can help researchers understand the challenges bees are facing.

Students were also encouraged to take a picture of the bees as they pollinate the sunflowers, making them eligible for a prize from the club when they return to school next fall.

Wheeler Middle School students, as well as several teachers from the district, also were asked to participate in the Great Sunflower Project. Earth Day events will continue today as middle and high school students work with the garden club to plant ilex bushes in the school greenhouse.

"Ilex plants supply food for 40 different varieties of birds," said Jean Ridell of the garden club.

She noted that children in town have a special interest in agriculture and nature.

" North Stonington school children are very aware of birds, animals and the environment because they live in an agricultural town. These projects will help them understand it better and enjoy it as well," she said.

Students will be able to take the ilex bushes home later this spring for planting.

The Connecticut Agricultural Education Foundation is donating the book "The Honey Makers," by Gail Gibbons, to the school library as part of its Connecticut Agriculture in the Classroom Project. A representative from the foundation read the book to students at the Earth Day festivities and talked to them about the importance of agriculture in their lives.

The garden club's projects are funded by its annual spring plant sale, which is scheduled for May 9, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. , at the Town Recreation Field off Route 2.

For more information about the Great Sunflower Project visit www.greatsunflower.org.




Copyright 2009, Westerly Sun, The (RI), All Rights Reserved.



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