Education is the most effective way to spread positive change, open minds, and inspire young people who are responsible for the future of our community and the earth we live on. In the summer of 2016, we are planning a series of educational experiences that center around pollinators (honeybees), conservation, and beekeeping. These programs are incredibly important to our ecosystem and will shed light on the plight of the honeybees as well as educate the community on the importance of pollinators, beekeeping, and simple day-to-day conservation efforts that will support a healthy future for our world’s honeybees. We hope to bring young people, adults and seniors out to spend time learning about the intricacies of the hives, the art of beekeeping, and the importance of conservation minded thinking and living. We will focus on educating children, but we will also expand our educational experiences to adults and seniors as well.
The Problem Our World and the Honeybees are Facing
Since the late 1990’s, beekeepers have noticed a decline in the honeybee population including high rates of collapse within colonies. Beekeepers have reported between 30-50% higher rates of hive loss. The declining bee population is a serious concern and issue facing humans globally. Pollinators have a great impact on food production, the balance of ecosystems, and the farming community. There is an awesome symbiotic relationship between these essential pollinators and food we enjoy every day. For beekeepers, this problem of a declining honeybee population is a constant worry and heartache. However, to the average community member, there is a lack of awareness in regards to the honeybees and the severity of their situation. Often times, the general public unknowingly uses harmful pesticides and treatments for their homes and lawns that hurt these struggling pollinators. Currently, there is a real lack of conservation minded programs in the Fort Wayne area that focus on pollinator education. There are no pollinator education programs within ninety (90) miles of Fort Wayne. This makes it very difficult for educators to find field trips and guest speakers for their science courses and in-field experiences. Adults who are interested in educating themselves on honeybees find themselves traveling long distances to reach programs that only run seasonally in other cities. The importance of solving these problems offers the chance to help others see the value and importance of these issues surrounding the pollinators and ways to help. These include ideas such as purchasing local honey and produce, and being conscious of daily habits that can be changed or amended to better help the environment in which they live and the honeybees they share it with.
The Solution (provide education)
Education is the most effective way to influence and change a community’s perspective on the importance of the honeybee population. These educational experiences will include hands-on experiences for many people in our community and provide resources to change the future of pollinators. We will host classes on the grounds of the Southwest Conservation Club and students will learn about pollinators (honeybees), their impacts on farming, the ecosystem, and the environment, the inner workings of the hive, and the devastation of the bee population and what they can do to help. This includes customized educational experiences for each group: children and youth, adults and seniors. Children are the future of beekeeping, and it is important to cultivate conservation minded practices. Adults are active voters and knowledge of pollinators may impact their ability to influence legislature in favor of protecting pollinators. With education, adults can change the their everyday practices and create an immediate impact on agriculture. This test of consumer practices will bring about solutions to the plight of the honeybees.
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