Students Enjoy Taking Part in Honey Bee Awareness Day Activities
Etowah County Alternative School has participated in Honey Bee Awareness Day for the past three years. Alternative Education and Community Services Director for the school, Butch Dixon, has said that the program has seen tremendous growth in a very short amount of time. In an article posted on GadsdenTimes.com, Dixon also praises the work students at the alternative school do throughout the year to help keep the Honey Bee Awareness Day program moving forward and successful.
The Honey Bee Awareness Day program began after a reading program that was hosted by Etowah County Schools. During this program, students were asked to read a book entitled “Bee Aware” all about honey bees. The success and interest surrounding the book and reading program prompted educators to take the “Bee Aware” theme one step further by hosting a presentation at the school that included live bees. This was also a big hit with students, encouraging Dixon and other educators to keep going.
Then Honey Bee Awareness Day was born – a hands-on experience for summer program students as well as students at the alternative school. Back in March 2013, the school district purchased two bee hives. Both the summer program students and the alternative school students, totaling between 150 and 200 children, became involved in the Honey Bee Awareness Day project. Alternative school students were even assigned the duties of caring for the honeybees throughout the year, Dixon said.
As word and popularity spread during its first year, the school decided to purchase an additional four honey bee hives, giving it a total of six. An Amish farmer from Pennsylvania heard about the program and contacted Dixon to see how he could help – the farmer built an educational hive for the school, paying all the expenses and having the hive shipped to the school. The educational hive includes glass-covered ends and removable doors so students can observe the bees work through the glass.
During Honey Bee Awareness Day, volunteers like Pat Sherril demonstrate the extraction process for students as well as educating them on the honeybee crisis and Colony Collapse Disorder issues honeybees are currently facing. At the end of the program, students are able to leave Honey Bee Awareness Day with a small sample of the honey that was extracted during the demonstration to bring home. “It’s thrilling […] to see the difference it is making in some of these kids’ lives,” Dixon said.