What’s the buzz about Windham Middle School? Seventh grade students on the Beal/Williamson academic team will soon embark on an interdisciplinary project based learning endeavor involving the importance and protection of Maine’s bees. Hi, my name is Erin Beal, and I teach seventh grade at Windham Middle School. I’m elated to tell you about an upcoming project my students will be starting once we’re a little less frozen.
With the recent addition of the rusty patched bumble bee to the endangered species list it’s understandable to be concerned, if not alarmed, about the possibility of a world without bees. It’s also understandable to feel overwhelmed by the scale of the epidemic and thus quite powerless. This spring our academic team will attempt to protect our local bee populations through the creation and implementation of a recovery plan. The goal of this endeavor is to empower students by making them successful in creating meaningful change within their community.
We will begin with an interdisciplinary discovery of the importance of bees to our society by exploring how bees impact our local and global economy. We will also learn about their importance to our local ecosystems. We will continue by working with local beekeepers to learn the ins and outs of bee societies and their environmental needs. Beekeepers have deep roots in Windham, and we’re excited to have a few beekeeper parents on our team ready to share their passion projects with us.
We will continue by looking at the successful recovery of the local piping plover populations in Maine and work through the elements of a recovery plan. Students will then work together to create their own mini-version that we can implement at our school, including the creation of a bee garden that will aid in the expansion of the bee population on our campus. This will also provide the perfect setting for students to begin learning how to sample populations and use statistical analysis to review their sampling results for a hopeful increase in population size.
Ultimately, we are hoping to have a public dedication of the bee garden where students can discuss their efforts and can share with the community how they too can help the global bee epidemic through small, thoughtful changes.