Ivy Academy Students in Chattanooga are Helping the Bees

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Photo by Michael D. Tedesco

Bee populations – vitally important to agriculture and to natural systems – have been in trouble for a decade. Students at Ivy Academy, an environmentally focused public school near Chattanooga, are taking a hands-on approach to learning about honeybees – and to helping them.

“We were studying pollinators and their importance to our food system, and quickly discovered that keeping bees would be a contribution to sustaining that system,” explains Ansley Eichhorn, Director of Admissions and Environmental Programming. Fifteen students in grades six through 12 now participate in the Ivy Academy Beekeeping Program, part of the school’s agricultural science program. The bees help pollinate the school’s vegetable and botanical gardens, and the honey they produce is harvested annually for Farm to School Day.

Students manage the hives with the help of Ivy Academy staff and mentors from the Tennessee Valley Beekeepers Association. Older students pass on what they’ve learned to younger students, and together they share their pollinator knowledge with other classes and at off-campus events. “This is really a teaching and learning tool for our whole community,” Eichhorn says.

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