Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Visit with Bees at Acts Arbor Farm

Our much anticipated field trip to visit Acts Arbor Farm with Beekeeper Tom Berge was not disappointed by stormy skies or small attendance.  Sunny blue skies and a soft cooling breeze blessed our August 13th afternoon on the farm with over thirty homeschool children and their moms - and grandmoms - for the purpose of learning all about life in a beehive!

Tom and Sherry Berge are active homeschoolers with a lovely tree farm in South Jersey, a couple of cats, some chickens - and five beehives set under a shade tree in the midst of their wildflower meadow.  A perfect environment for successful honey production.  After adequate research and schooling on the subject, the purchase of appropriate hive supplies, and a certain amount of prayer, Beekeeper Berge and two of his older children were ready to welcome a swarm of bees and the queen bee herself, settling them into their new digs just three years ago.  Now, with a total of five hives housing hundreds of thousands of bees, Acts Arbor Farm makes fresh hive honey seasonably available to local families.

And, were generous enough to open their farm and expertise to Constellation Academy for our recent field trip!!

Youngsters and parents gathered around an outdoor display table where Mr. Berge acquainted everyone with bee basics:  how a hive is built . . .

The three different types of bees that live in the hive and their jobs - including the one queen bee who lays 1500 eggs a day; the hundreds of male drones who exist solely to mate with the queen and are kicked out of the hive in the fall; and the thousands of female worker bees who do all the chores of keeping the hive functioning, feeding and raising the young, foraging for pollen in the fields, and making the honey and wax. 

Students learned the value of honey when realizing that it takes 60,000 to 90,000 flowers visited by honeybees collecting nectar to made a thimble full of honey!

Five million flowers must be visited by honeybees to make one pint of honey - and honeybees will have to travel up to a three mile radius - or 6000 acres - from the hive to do so!!

These creatures may be small, but an average honeybee colony boasts as many as 60,000 bees all working together with a single minded purpose.

A useful diagram of the parts of a bee's anatomy had bee prepared by Noah, Beekeeper Berge's daughter and talented artist, who assists in caring for the hives on the farm.

After question and answer time, instructions for advancing nearer the bees was given and our beekeepers suited up in protective gear . . .

After preparing the "smoker" which is essential to subduing the bees when venturing to open a hive.

After a short walk into the field and standing a safe distance away from the hives, students were introduced to the bees, brought closer for inspection by Mr. Berge.

Gasps of fascination echoed through the visitors and more questions and answers were exchanged.

Tables were lined up and supplies dispensed for the creation of a mini-lapbook reviewing all the things learned about bees on our trip. 

Parents assisted students in following Miss Kathy's directions for, folding, cutting, and gluing everything in place.  Handouts to complete the lapbook for in-home review were given to each before closing the event with a group photo in the shaded play area.

A good time was decidedly had by all!  It was a delight to meet so many new faces joining our Constellation Academy family for this field trip event - and there's more to come in the fall!  Updates are underway on our Filed Trips and Events tab above so check often to see the latest of what's coming up - and mark your calendars accordingly.  All Constellation Academy field trips and events require an RSVP so we can be fully prepared with all materials for everyone.

Many thanks to Tom and Sherry Berge and their family for helping to make this beautiful afternoon a joyful experience of teaching and learning in the midst of God's glorious creation!

1 comment:

Joyness Sparkles said...

What a fabulous field trip! This was a very delightful post, thank you so much for sharing this. :)