Bee Kind to the Bees

I wanted to do something to kick off some Earth Week festivities (last year it was Johnny Appleseed) and a friend suggested I visit a local bee farm and find out why bees are so important to the planet. I was pretty sure this would be interesting to little ones, and I knew it would be interesting to me. The owners of the farm are wonderful people who have a lot of bees and produce a lot of raw honey. They were kind enough to agree to be on camera and walk us through what bees do, how they make honey, etc. We settled on a day and time and the episode began to take shape.

I was hoping Scott and Marta, our hosts, would let me suit up as a beekeeper might and therefore get close to the bees, and that’s exactly how it went. My husband and daughter went along, Bruce to film as always and Katie for support. Marta is a friend of hers, so that helped everyone be more comfortable. I introduced our episode and Scott and Marta, and then Scott explained why he ‘smokes’ the bees to keep them calm. Then we suited up and headed for the hive boxes where Scott explained what we would see. Each box contains frames of honeycombs and bees, and he took each one out and pointed out the queens in the hives, worker bees, baby bees, etc. He let me hold one of the frames as he talked about the pollen, nectar, etc., and identified what we were seeing and watching the bees do. I was fascinated by the different colors of pollen on the frames.

Marta talked about what kids can do to help protect the bees and increase the bees’ ability to pollinate. She suggested that they plant flowers, in particular those that really attract honeybees. We ended our visit by going inside to pour some honey into jars that we could take home. Raw honey has some excellent properties and potential benefits, so we purchased two pounds to take with us. I actually filled one jar without making a mess (very unlike me).

As is my habit—and has been for 95 episodes— I read up on honeybees prior to visiting the farm so I would have some knowledge beforehand and know what questions to ask. It also gave me the information I needed to write my poem for the episode. I seriously didn’t know much about any kind of bees before preparing for this one, and I was blown away by how smart and hardworking honeybees are. One of the most interesting things was that honeybees form almost a bond with their beekeepers and recognize them. This, among other things, is why Scott and other beekeepers can handle the frames and get close to the bees without being stung.

I ordered props for this one as I usually do, including a metal bee and a bee ring. Katie had made me a shirt using a photo I had taken of a bee on a dandelion. I researched what flowers in particular honeybees are attracted to and found some artificial lavender and sunflowers among artificial flowers I already had. I put those on my GG Sprinkles table, and when we got back from the farm we recorded our last three minutes, including my poem called ‘Amazing Bees.’ The day after the episode was uploaded to YouTube we knew it would perform very well. It was fun to do and now we have to figure out another Earth Day-related topic with which to work. But I guarantee we’ll have trouble coming close to this one. We’ll do our best, but I do love those bees. ❤️

Author:

I’m a huge believer in two things: the wisdom and potential of our children and the importance of poetry and imagination in their lives and development. My teaching background is at the high school level, but my methods in the classroom ran high in interaction and whimsy, at least as much whimsy as preparation for state testing allowed. I have four young grandchildren, and I nannied a little boy for over four years from infancy, so I like to think I know children pretty well. And I used poetry to teach and inspire no matter what ages I was called to teach. Poetry takes very big ideas and boils them down to nuggets of wisdom more easily understood. And then there’s the rhyme, such a valuable asset to pre-reading and a great hook to pull the little ones into the poetry itself. The rhythm, cadence, and yes, the rhyme, all have value for kids. Even if the full meaning of the words eludes them a little, there is value in what they do process. I have written and published two books of essays and poetry for teachers, but my greater joy came in writing poetry for children. I began a book of children’s poetry the day my first grandchild Samantha was born and fourteen years later I continue to add to it. I entitled it A Duck in the Sky, which comes from a discussion we had with Sam when she was just a toddler. We were talking about the meaning of life and Sam assured us that the meaning of life was, in fact, a duck in the sky. Fair enough, and a very good title. I never published my children’s book, although that will happen. But in the meantime came Covid and quarantine. I wanted to contribute something, to help entertain young children stuck at home, even if for only a few minutes at a time. So GG Sprinkles was born, someone who reads poetry and entertains with props, demonstrations, etc. Our videos began on a GG Sprinkles Facebook page, and shortly after that became a GG Sprinkles YouTube channel. So we now have quite a few videos available and I continue to write poetry. I have learned a great deal about a lot of topics: fairies, zebras, angels, octopuses, birds, superheroes, blanket forts, dragons, space, buried treasure, planets, burping, puppets, trains, unicorns, kites, magic wands, and so much more. It has been a pure joy to do this for the kids. And, of course, I’m learning so much along the way. We intend to keep the videos coming as long as the poetry comes and the kids and parents are interested. We’d be delighted to have you come along with us as we explore new topics poetically and just have some fun. GG Sprinkles welcomes you to any of the videos you’d like to watch and further thoughts here on my blog. Enjoy!

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