June 29, 2017

Wolgast Tree Farm & Apiary Visits Barack Obama Green Charter High School

Earlier this month Wolgast Tree Farm & Apiary had the pleasure of visiting 9th grade students in the Barack Obama Green Charter High School in Plainfield to share information about honey bees and why they are so important to people.

Cathy brought an observation hive and different types of honey when she visited with students in the Climate Change Classes at the Barack Obama Green Charter High School in Plainfield, NJ earlier his month.

Cathy brought an observation hive and different types of honey when she visited with students in the Climate Change Classes at the Barack Obama Green Charter High School in Plainfield, NJ earlier his month.

Cathy took a frame from one of her honey bee colonies and placed it in an observation hive which she brought with her to class.  It was a great opportunity for students to see some of the inner workings of a honey bee hive. Depending on what was in each individual cell of the beeswax comb they could either see honey bee eggs, honey bee larvae (baby bees), pollen or honey.  Students could watch adult bees walking around the comb to take care of the young or cleaning the comb.  For many, it was the very first time they’d ever seen a honey bee so close.

Like many people, the students weren’t aware of how dependent people are on honey bees.  Honey bees are known as “the engine that drives agriculture” because they play a vital role in the pollination of many agricultural crops.  Pollination is when pollen is transferred from one flower to another.  It’s a very important process because without it the flowers won’t properly develop into fruits, vegetables or nuts that the plants are supposed to produce.  Some of the foods that

Cathy holds up a photo of two strawberries.  The fully developed strawberry on the left has been properly pollinated, while the poorly developed one on the right was not.

Cathy holds up a photo of two strawberries. The fully developed strawberry on the left has been properly pollinated, while the poorly developed one on the right was not.

depend on pollination by honey bees include apples, oranges, strawberries, cherries, almonds, blueberries, cashews, okra, melons, cucumbers, avocados, string beans and many more.  These foods are not only tasty, but they are needed for people to help have a healthy diet.

Cathy described how bees make honey and brought along different types of honey for students to taste.  The honey tasting was a real eye-opener!  Students took coffee stirrer straws and dipped them once into samples of honey made by bees that had been nectaring on clover flowers, orange blossoms, blueberry flowers, buckwheat flowers and coffee flowers, plus some wildflower honey made by the bees at Wolgast Tree Farm and Apiary.  They were AMAZED by how different each kind of honey looked, smelled and especially how they tasted.  It was fun to watch their faces as they first tasted a mild honey like clover or orange blossom, and then something really robust like buckwheat.  Quite a difference!

Students at the Barack Obama Green Charter High School sample different kinds of honey that were made by bees that collected nectar from different types of flowers.

Students at the Barack Obama Green Charter High School sample different kinds of honey that were made by bees that collected nectar from different types of flowers.

Cathy and Len always enjoy the opportunity to share what they do at Wolgast Tree Farm & Apiary with others, and the school program at the Barack Obama Green Charter High School was no different.  Visits with young people offer an opportunity to help shape the future and we are heartened by the interest they showed in this fascinating and important insect.

Many thanks to the  students and staff at Barack Obama Green Charter High School in Plainfield for opening their doors to Wolgast Tree Farm & Apiary!

A student at Barack Obama Green Charter High School checks out the observation hive while she samples some honey during a school program offered by Wolgast Tree Farm & Apiary.

A student at Barack Obama Green Charter High School checks out the observation hive while she samples some honey during a school program offered by Wolgast Tree Farm & Apiary.