Bayer North American Bee Care Center Commemorates 10,000 Visitors

By Sarah Myers, education outreach coordinator and apiarist, Bayer North American Bee Care Center

It’s usually pretty buzz-y around here, but in April 2017 we had additional cause for celebration. Seventy-five fourth-graders from Ravenscroft School visited us at the Bayer Bee Care Center for a particularly buzz-worthy milestone. The students, their teachers and parent chaperones, joined the Bayer Bee Care Program to serve as the commemorative 10,000th visitor to the center!

Bayer Bee Care Center

We began the day by welcoming the students as “honorary 10,000th visitors” of the Bee Care Center.

Kids Learn About Bee Health

We had the pleasure of teaching the next generation of bee enthusiasts about pollinators through a hands-on, interactive guided tour and scavenger hunt. Students even had the chance to search for the queen in our observation hive and hold a live drone bee (Did you know the male bee does not have a stinger?) to get up close and personal with our fuzzy friends! (By the way, tours are available for families and groups of all ages on Tuesdays and Thursdays.)

Kids Fill Out Information About BeesA Little Girl Holds a Bee On Her Fingers

Students also took part in the “Grow a Sunflower, Feed a Bee!” educational activity with our new Feed a Bee partner, Sweet Virginia Foundation. This educational organization inspires students to learn about the important role honey bees play in our ecosystem, and Sweet Virginia shares a passion for pollinators that makes them a seamless partner for Feed a Bee.

Kids Learn How to Plant Pollinators

We also broke down the basic parts of a sunflower, explaining the background behind the name. Students modeled the behavior of sunflowers and followed cardinal directions to learn how sunflowers move with sunlight.

Children Learning at the Bayer Bee Care Center

Students took part in an improv game showcasing the roles of bees and sunflowers. The game was followed by a class where students learned more about pollination progression.

Kids Learning About Bees at the Bee Care Center

As part of their activities, each student planted a potted sunflower plant to take home and create the beginning of their very own pollinator garden. Together, we planted 75 flowers to feed the bees!

A Child Planting a Pollinator for Bees

We also primed for the future growth of the sunflowers together. Students created measuring sticks to follow their height and studied the varying ways to measure sunflowers once they grow even taller than the foot-long stick. The group displayed both their originality and reasoning as they predicted how tall their sunflowers would grow.

Dozens of Flowers Planted By Kids
A Boy with Headphones on Listening To Bee InformationA Child Interacting wtih a Bee Learning Module

To close out this fun day, Becky Langer, project manager of the Bayer North American Bee Care Program; Dan Price, founder and CEO of our new partner Sweet Virginia Foundation; and our very own president and CEO of Crop Science, Jim Blome, provided closing comments thanking our guests for joining us to celebrate the 10,000 pollinator enthusiasts who have visited our facility.

Becky Langer Speaking at the Bayer Bee Care Center
A Speaker at the Bayer Bee Care CenterSpeaker at Bayer Bee Care Center
Children at the Bayer Bee Care Center

As the finale, we hosted a celebratory photo op with bee and flower props and a visual depiction of 10,000 with the students and all others in attendance.

Children Having Fun at the Bayer Bee Care CenterKids Join Feed a Bee

To honor our partners and all our visitors who aided us in reaching this key milestone, we also celebrated it with a $10,000 donation to Project PLANTS, a Grow For It project from the JC Raulston Arboretum that teaches students about the science behind horticulture. The donation, made during a tour of the Bee Care Center two days before our event, will support upcoming flower plantings, creating forage and habitat for pollinators and assisting them in pollinating many of the crops and landscapes we hold dear. We’re thrilled to see these funds work to grow more flowers for bees and other pollinators!

We couldn’t be more greatful for all those who have joined with us in our mission to protect pollinators and research the many areas of their health. We look forward to teaching the next 10,000 visitors to our Bayer North American Bee Care Center. Keep buzzing!

Kids with Their Heads in Flowers