Fifth-graders at Pieter B. Coeymans Elementary School will now have the opportunity to get first-hand experience with a beehive thanks to Whole Foods’ Whole Kids Foundation. The foundation awarded the school with a $1,800 grant ($1,500 for equipment and $300 stipend) for an outdoor beehive provided by the Bee Cause Project. The hive will allow all fifth-graders to participate in a bi-weekly STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) class where they will gain specific knowledge about bees, ecology, nutrition and data collection. These skills will help them meet Next Generation Learning Standards, while focusing on inquiry-based learning activities.
The hive, which will arrive at the school in the spring, will be visible through windows in the library, art room and central hallway. Mike Crown, a member of the Catskill Bee Club, will be the “bee mentor” and provide the starter colony. Third grade teacher Linda Boem, who is a hobby beekeeper, will serve as “bee advocate” and check up on the hive weekly. The grant application was spearheaded by Sean Powers and Mellissa Manning.
The bee is already an important aspect of the Pieter B. culture, through the PBIS program that encourages students to “Bee Responsible, Bee Respectful and Bee Safe.” Posters featuring the PBIS bees are hung around the school and students who earn commendations make a yellow thumbprint (with non-toxic paint) next to a hive poster, adding black stripes and the students’ names to complete the effect.