Pollinator Nation: Feed a Bee in D.C.
What’s better than the sound of bees buzzing in a garden? The sound of children talking and learning about bees buzzing in a garden! To celebrate the beginning of National Pollinator Week, the Bayer Bee Care Program teamed up with the Washington Youth Garden in Washington, D.C., for a pollinator celebration. Each year, the Washington Youth Garden hosts four Family Garden Days as a time for members of the community to experience nature and learn how food is grown through hands-on activities and tours. We joined the first Family Garden Day of 2017 as parents and children from across the city were welcomed on Saturday, June 17 to participate in a planting and multiple educational activities about pollinator health and their importance to food production.
The event began with a welcome from Nadia Mercer, program director for the Washington Youth Garden, followed by few remarks from me on the importance of pollinators before presenting Nadia with a check for $5,000.
The Washington Youth Garden will use the funds to begin the highly anticipated restoration of their Butterfly and Pollinator Garden, the passion project of a garden volunteer. The Washington Youth Garden set out to reestablish the garden in his memory, and Family Garden Day attendees helped break ground on the pollinator patch.
Attending children and their families were able to gain further hands-on pollinator experience through different activity stations, where they learned the pollination process of bees and butterflies, made hummus on a blender bicycle, explored how compost is made, and more. My personal favorite was watching kids and parents alike take turns trying on beekeeper suits. It was fun for attendees and potentially even sparked a little one’s interest in pursuing a career in beekeeping!
Sweet Virginia foundation, an educational partner of Feed a Bee that provides free honey bee resources to teachers and students around the world, was able to join us for the day, as well. They even brought a demonstration hive to show kids an up close look into the lives of honey bees.
We also had a special guest in the house – Woodsy the Owl! Woodsy is an energetic, rapping chap from the National Forest Service who teaches kids the importance of keeping our environment healthy. Woodsy got the crowd on their feet demonstrating their best bee waggle dance and rapped about the importance of protecting our pollinators before joining in the planting fun.
We are very excited to say that this event launches the announcement for our first round of forage grant recipients! After putting out a Feed a Bee call for proposals in February, the Steering Committee has been hard at work reading about the many great projects happening across the country in support of pollinator health. From nature preserves to schools and golf courses to farms, it’s encouraging to see all the places forage can be planted to support our friends, the bees. We are proud to announce that for the first round of funding, 58 organizations from more than 30 states and Washington, D.C. have been accepted. This puts us over halfway to our goal of planting in every state before the end of 2018!
I look forward to seeing future updates from the Washington Youth Garden as they make progress on their Butterfly and Pollinator Garden, as well as the many other funded projects that will be completed throughout the rest of the year. Rolling applications for forage grants are being accepted for the next round of funding. See here for more information on how to apply.