Teaching Youth about Pollinators

Last Thursday Soni and I spent the day teaching 4th and 5th graders about pollinators at the Outdoor Discovery Program held every year at Platte River State Park hosted by Nebraska Game and Parks. The day started out chilly, but by afternoon we were able to see many pollinators and the kids were able to stretch out in the grassy area and work in their field journals. We found out the attending youth knew what pollination means, what pollinators are and how they are important.  What we were able to add to their knowledge was very interesting to them.  We discussed native pollinators and showed them nesting bee blocks with the leaf cutter bees still in them ready to emerge. The importance of early blooming plants, like dandelions, which they considered weeds, was a surprise to them. The discussion turned to what food crops needed pollinators to produce, like tomatoes, apples and almonds. By the end of each session, the kids had a better understanding of our native pollinators and how their habitat is important to protect.  It was a very fun day for all of us and it is great to partner with Nebraska Game and Parks in youth outdoor education.

MJ Frogge

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UNL Tracking Bumblebees

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Entomologists are planning to train high school students to track bumblebee queens. Radio tracking technology is available and the tiny devices will make it possible for students and researchers to track newly emerged queens to see where they decide to start a nest and what they do during the time between emergence and finding a nest. Here’s a link to the UNL/IANR News Press Release – “Entomlogists Begin Pilot Program to Track Bumblebee Queens” – July 2013

UNL professors are also working to create the ideal bumblebee box. Learn more about their project – read “UNL Professor Works to Crowdsource a Better Bumblebee Box” – July 2013

Here’s to Sharing the Buzz!

Soni

UNL Extension provides research-based information to help you make informed decisions any time, any place, anywhere – http://lancaster.unl.edu