This past Friday, we hosted the first session of this year’s teachers professional development series titled “Ultra Urban Green” for the DC3 Collaborative (nine DC Public Schools) which covers both the theory and the practice of incorporating meaningful environmental projects in schools, from growing crops to bug hotels, from wet beds (raised beds that house wetland plants for Anacostia and Potomac wetland restoration) to composting, from greenroofs to other bioremediation projects such as raingardens. Of course the site here at Walker Jones does all of that and is continuing to expand so not only can education professionals come together to share ideas and planning, working examples of these initiatives are already in place. One of our growing projects is apiculture; this was the substance of the day’s training.
Last year we started our Junior Beekeepers initiative, generously supported by Whole Foods Market at P St NW and also the DC Beekeeper Alliance, when we trained students from Walker Jones, as well as from Maury and Mann elementary schools to keep bees. As we already have three mature beehives on the Farm itself, and a further four located on the school’s greenroof, giving the students hands-on experience, and now extending this learning opportunity to more teachers, will not only expose students to this exciting experience , but is also contributing to the establishment of urban honeybees to counter the plight of this most valuable crop pollinator.
The success of our Junior Beekeepers initiative was underlined by how several of our students gave up their day off school to come demonstrate, and in turn to educate the educators themselves!
This was also an opportunity to share some of the excellent lesson plans and student materials created by entomologist and Curator of the Cornwall Public Library in New York, Louise Lynch.
To learn a little bit more about the beekeeping work our students already engage in, please take a look at last moth’s blog post “The Keeping of Bees is like the Direction of Sunbeams”