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Skyline buzzes with anticipation of bee studies

Hannah Brown
Skyline second grade teacher Carrie Harrold, show contents of  the Bee Grant Experience box, which includes a book of lesson plans for all ages. Skyline will be adding an observation hive in the near future, with classes from elementary and high school having access to pollination studies.

A new observation beehive will join the campus of Skyline Schools to help the community of Skyline learn more about these important insects.

Second-grade teacher Carrie Harrold and Ag instructor Anita DeWeese approached the USD 438 school board in September 2019 to present the idea of bringing this learning experience to Skyline.

“This will especially benefit the second-grade class as they learn about insects, but there is an appeal to all grade levels,” Harrold said.

Chris Schrack, a local beekeeper, and several other community members have donated time and materials to make this dream a reality.

Harrold and DeWeese worked with the administrators, teachers and the school nurse to submit a grant proposal to The Bee Cause Project. After a long process of multiple phases, they were notified just before Christmas they had been awarded a $1,500 grant to use towards an observation beehive.

Students will be able to observe first-hand why bees are important, how their society works, and how insects can be helpful and harmful to people.

“An added benefit of bringing this educational opportunity to Skyline is raising the awareness of the impact of pollinators on agriculture,” Harrold said. “Skyline Schools is supported by our neighboring farmers. Healthy pollinators are critical to many aspects of agriculture. Unfortunately, many pollinators, especially bees, are struggling now.”

Harrold said that giving people an opportunity to safely observe and interact with an observation beehive encourages them to protect this valuable member of the local agricultural ecosystem.

Some Skyline high school students, along with their supervisor, will build a case that will house the hive. It will be located on a window in the atrium, allowing it to be observed by those in the building. The bees will be able to leave the area to pollinate and return to their hive. No bees will enter the building.

"Skyline Schools wants to thank The Bee Cause Project and its sponsors for this opportunity,” Harrold said.