Bayer North American Bee Care Center Celebrates 10,000 Visitors
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
It’s usually pretty buzz-y around here, but last week we had extra cause for celebration. Seventy-five fourth-graders from Ravenscroft School joined us at the Bayer Bee Care Center for an un-BEE-lievable milestone. The students, accompanied by their teachers and parent chaperones, joined the Bayer Bee Care Program to serve as the commemorative 10,000th visitor to the center.
We started out the day by welcoming the students as “honorary 10,000th visitors” of the Bee Care Center.
We had the pleasure of teaching the next generation of bee enthusiasts about pollinators through a hands-on, interactive guided tour and scavenger hunt. (By the way, tours are available for families and groups of all ages on Tuesdays and Thursdays!) Students even had the chance to find the queen in our observation hive and hold a live drone bee (Did you know the male bee does not have a stinger?) to get up close and personal with agriculture’s hardest workers during the tour!
Students also participated in the “Grow a Sunflower, Feed a Bee!” educational activity with our newly announced Feed a Bee partner, Sweet Virginia Foundation. This educational organization encourages elementary school students to learn about the vital role honey bees play in our ecosystem, and Sweet Virginia shares a passion for pollinators that makes them an especially buzz-worthy partner for Feed a Bee.
Students played an improv game showcasing the roles of bees and sunflowers. The game was followed by a lesson where students learned more about the pollination process.
We also broke down the basic parts of a sunflower, explaining the meaning behind the name. Students modeled the behavior of sunflowers, determining cardinal directions to learn how sunflowers move with sunlight.
As part of the activity, each student planted a potted sunflower plant to take home and establish the beginning of their very own pollinator garden. Together, we planted 75 flowers to feed the bees!
We also prepared for the future growth of the sunflowers together. Students created measuring sticks to track their height and learned the different ways to measure sunflowers once they grow even taller than the foot-long measuring stick. The group showed both their creativity and logic as they guessed how tall the sunflowers would grow.
To close out this fun celebration, Becky Langer, project manager of the Bayer North American Bee Care Program; Dan Price, founder and CEO of our new partner Sweet Virginia Foundation; and our very own president and CEO of Crop Science, Jim Blome, provided closing remarks thanking our guests for joining us to celebrate the 10,000 pollinator enthusiasts who have visited our facility.
As the finale, we hosted a festive photo op with bee and flower props and a visual representation of 10,000 with the students and all others in attendance.
To commemorate our partners and all our visitors who helped us reach this key milestone, we also celebrated it with a $10,000 donation to Project PLANTS, a Grow For It project from the JC Raulston Arboretum that educates students about the science behind horticulture. The donation, made during a tour of the Bee Care Center two days before our celebration, will support future flower plantings, establishing forage and habitat for pollinators and supporting them in pollinating many of the crops and landscapes we enjoy. We’re excited to see these funds work to grow more flowers for bees and other pollinators!
We couldn’t be more thankful for all those who joined with us in our quest to protect pollinators and promote and research the many components of their health. We look forward to educating the next 10,000 visitors to our Bayer North American Bee Care Center. Keep buzzing!