The Native Bee Challenge Kicks off This Spring

Iowa youth will explore the world of pollinators this spring and summer

March 28, 2019, 3:23 pm | Maya Hayslett

AMES, Iowa – The 4-H Ag Innovators Experience Native Bee Challenge is arriving in Iowa counties this upcoming spring and summer. The program includes several interactive lessons engaging youth to learn about pollination and solve real-world agriculture problems and issues.

three children at a table playing a game.The program, with a goal of reaching more than 1,000 youth in 2019, is based on activities targeted for third through eighth grade students. By taking part in collaborative, hands-on activities, youth at each event will learn how increasing biodiversity, specifically by increasing habitat for the native bees, benefits our food supply and agriculture.

As youth work with a model of pollination that includes five types of native bees and five types of flowers, they will explore the process of pollination, and the connections it has to the global food supply. Students will also investigate a variety of scenarios that bees encounter as they seek ways to increase pollinator habitat and, in turn, grow the overall bee population and increase biodiversity.

“Most people don’t realize the importance of native bees in our food production. The Native Bee Challenge will engage youth and communities in learning about native bees as pollinators of food crops and how they can increase habitat for bees,” said Maya Hayslett, crop science youth extension specialist and organizer of the program.

As a part of the 4-H program, 18 teenagers took on the challenge and responsibility of preparing educational materials, and trained to serve as educational assistants at the various programs. Teens were trained to facilitate curriculum made up of hands-on activities about pollination, native bees, increasing habitat and making bee nests. The teens practiced teaching the activities to a group of elementary school youth as part of the training. The Iowa State University Integrated Pest Management and 4-H Youth Development programs will assist in carrying out programs around the state.

The 4-H Ag Innovators Experience program is presented by the National 4-H Council and BAYER to help develop critical workforce skills in young people and show that agriculture can be relevant and fun. Students in Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Nebraska take part in the Native Bee Challenge throughout the spring and summer.

Visit facebook.com/NativeBeeChallenge to view the list of events and find one in your area.

 

Audio file available
Transcript. Maya Hayslett: "Most people don’t realize the importance of native bees in our food production. The Native Bee Challenge will engage youth and communities in learning about native bees as pollinators of food crops and how they can increase habitat for bees."

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