EATON — The students of the Preble County ESC Alternative School recently took a field trip in order to take action in saving the bees.
On Wednesday, April 26, the students went to Fort St. Clair to plant wildflowers which will attract pollinators to the site. Principal Steve Reese planned the trip as a way to get the students involved in a bigger issue and teach them the value of social awareness.
He explained, “We have to make learning relevant. We wanted to present the kids with a social issue, which is colony collapse disorder. Then we wanted to try to develop a little social responsibility in the kids. Most of the time, when you do that in a classroom, you understand it, but you can’t act on it. So coming out here and planting the flowers that are going to attract bees and help with colony collapse disorder, it allowed the kids to act on it.
“They worked together as a campus. Each of the classes presented to their fellow classmates this morning. It’s been a successful project.”
Principal Reese added, making learning relevant to the kids is the sort of teaching they need to focus on and that the students enjoyed making an impact.
ESC Alternative School Site Monitor Michelle Reynolds added, “I think it’s been a great experience for the kids. It was the brainchild of Mr. Reese and two students, just a casual conversation that blossomed from there.”
According to Reese, he had been discussing art with two students, when one of them brought up the problem with the bees. “From the minds of two students, we developed this campus-wide project,” he said.
Colony collapse disorder is what occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear and leave behind a queen, plenty of food, and nurse bees. There has been a rise in the number of disappearances of western honey bee colonies in North America, and in 2006 the name “colony collapse disorder” was coined. A similar phenomena is happening in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, and Switzerland and Germany to a lesser degree.
Colony collapse disorder is a problem because it causes significant economic loss, due to many crops being pollinated by western honey bees. There is no consensus on what causes colony collapse disorder, but it is thought pesticides play a role.
When planting the wildflowers, Reese and the Alternative School vowed to not use pesticides in the location. The flowers, without any chemicals present, will attract pollinators. This gives the bees an object to pollinate. The location chosen had wildflowers planted there in the past, so there were already some wildflowers, and the students simply added more.
The ESC Alternative School is designed for students who find traditional education challenging. The programs available support students with greater one-on-one interaction from specially trained staff. They house students from all districts in the county. Students both with special needs and those who simply need a different learning environment are taught at the Alternative School.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH