A sweet new project coming to Penn Yan Academy

Carlie Bossard, Penn Yan Academy Agriculture Teacher
Special to The Chronicle-Express

PENN YAN – We are so excited to start a new project at Penn Yan Academy! We will be adding an apiary to our school. What is an apiary? A place where we house honey bees. Students in Agriculture classes will have the opportunity to work directly with two honey bee hives starting this spring.

The keeping of bees and the processing of honey and beeswax products is a new program being introduced at Penn Yan Academy.

PYA Technology classes helped build the hives, which will be located on the roof of the Academy. Students will be involved in all aspects of caring for the bees from feeding them, checking the hives, harvesting and/bottling the honey, and creating other products like beeswax and lip balm! And, yes, we will have local beekeepers in on the fun as well.

PYA agriculture students will be involved in every aspect of beekeeping and harvesting its products.

Bees are a critical part of our ecosystem. According to experts, one in three bites of food we eat depends on bees and other pollinators. Without bees, we would be extremely limited in the types of foods we could eat. From almonds to apricots, blueberries to beef; our diet would suffer without bee pollination.

You have probably read the reports that bee populations have been mysteriously and dramatically declining around the world.

The beehive boxes were built by PYA Technology students.

Prompted in part by this news, there has been a spike in the number of school systems working to help the bees. Many schools have created nectar-rich flower gardens to provide more forage for our precious pollinators and many schools (like Penn Yan Academy) are raising bees right at school.

Not only will we be helping the bees, we are also evolving the Agriculture Department’s curriculum. This now includes pollinator education and opportunities to provide students interactive experiences with our pollinators. Bee hives are a science class in a box! They are ideal for connecting real world learning; a unique option to develop practical skills of observation, measurement, etc. and to inspire the next generation of sustainability minded citizens. This project is unique and hands-on for students who have a love of flowers, food, and honey.

Help us save the bees and enrich the next generation of environmentally conscious citizens.