Project Explore students at Oswego County BOCES have been busy as bees completing a Project Based Learning initiative to benefit honey bees and local agriculture.
The PBL project was coordinated cooperatively by teachers Dave Proietti and Kate Clark.
“We asked the students to identify a need and create a project to address that need,” Proietti said.
The students studied honey bees and the important role that the insects play in the pollination process and decided to craft beehive boxes.
The boxes put the students’ math and finished carpentry skills into action by requiring them to make precise calculations and utilize such machines as a mitre saw and a table saw.
The students crafted 12 sets of beehive boxes, each containing a top section where the female worker bees return with the pollen to make the honey comb and then a bottom section for the queen bee to lay her eggs.
Teachers Proietti and Clark invited Jonathan Schell, an agriculture team coordinator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oswego County to speak to the students about apiculture or beekeeping.
“Bees are a very important part of the pollination process,” Schell said to the students explaining that bees are responsible for pollinating fruit trees and vegetable plants. “Apple trees will not pollinate on their own.”
Many local farmers, including apple growers, propagate their own bee colonies and utilize beehive boxes that are exactly like the ones the students crafted.
Schell also talked to students about a virus that has adversely impacting bee populations across the world and said that the students’ boxes are a great way to encourage healthy bee growth.
The students donated several of the beehive boxes to Cornell Cooperative Extension to be used by local growers and farmers and then plan to sell the remainder of the boxes through their student club account at an end of the school year sale.