Monday, February 13, 2017

All About Bees

For nearly 100 Girl Scouts, Saturday morning was all about bees as they took part in a workshop to learn about the important role bees play as pollinators in the ecosystem. The event was hosted by Carrie “Honeybee” Brown, who in addition for her background in beekeeping, also works as a retention advisor at Norfolk State University. Brown led the workshop with help from 40 students from Norfolk State University.

Dressed in all black, wearing bee wings on her back and a headband with antennae, Brown kicked off the morning by talking to the girls about her experiences as a beekeeper. Girls then jumped into action and made their own beehives using PVC pipes and cardboard. They also made wildflower seed balls to plant at home and garden markers to keep track of where they planted the flowers for bees. Adding to the fun, girls had the chance to their own headbands with antennae to match Brown’s bee-themed outfit.

As part of the morning’s agenda, Brown spent time talking to the girls about how bees are responsible for pollinating healthy foods and discussed the different roles bees play in the production of honey. Girls listened intently to Brown speak about bees and were especially interested in hearing about hierarchy in beehives and the role that the queen bee plays. To show as examples of beekeeping tools, Brown brought along her beekeepers hat, beehive smoker and examples of beehives that she shared with the girls. She also talked about ways that girls can support local beekeepers and spoke about the importance of the diversity of flowers that bees need to survive.

In today’s world, where women hold only approximately 25 percent of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers, Girl Scouts is committed to providing experiences for girls to explore and discover in a wide variety of STEM fields. Through partnerships, including the one with Brown, Girl Scouts is able to create opportunities for girls to be engaged in fun and unique STEM-learning experiences.

Brown previously hosted the Spartan Beekeepers Club at Norfolk State University, which made the college the first HBCU to have a rooftop apiary, or bee farm. It was also the first of its kind in the City of Norfolk. This spring, she will be introducing a beehive at A Place for Girls, the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast regional program center and headquarters in Chesapeake.