May 18th Bees and Blossoms

On May 18th Friends of Piper’s Orchard hosted Viewlands School for an afternoon that focused on bees, pollination, and the historic orchard.

Tammi Lynd coordinated for the school, and was a joy to work with. She promoted the event, created posters in several languages, and got us lots of publicity.

Brian Gay from Parks did a really terrific job planning and coordinating the event, and facilitating the various activities of the day. His craft project about flowers and pollinators was a big hit, and he was expert at pacing the various educational opportunities, keeping the group on task and having fun. The kids and their families enjoyed working with him, and so did FOPO.

Ingela, Don, Brian, and Trent gave mini-talks about bumble bees, beneficial wasps, orchard mason bees, and pollination, respectively. Ingela brought a honey comb from her own hive, and talked about both honey bees and bumble bees. Trent explained mason bees and showed where they live in the orchard. Don talked about predator wasps and how they help the orchard. Brian showed the kids pollen. Each presenter knew just how to connect with the kids, and so everybody had a good experience. After the talks, the kids planted pollinator-friendly plants, part of FOPO’s Permaculture Plan.

Fran spent the day, pitching in to help. Joan coordinated with Parks staffers ahead of time, getting us important help and tools. Meriam came on Friday, and prepped the planting areas. Andy came by to help, and brought his musician friends who played for us.

In addition to Brian, we got lots of help from Parks. Sheila Brown, our new Park’s liaison, dropped by to get acquainted and show support. Rich helped spruce the orchard up, and Junior got us tools and other gear.

The best part of the day, for me, was the kids. They brought enthusiasm, energy, and curiosity to the orchard. They learned about bees, watched butterflies, collected earthworms, planted flowers, and connected with the orchard and its critters. They chased each other around the trees, having a wonderful time. At the end of the visit, they came, with formality and manners that would have pleased Jane Austin, to thank us. Before the event, I would not have thought kids would have so much fun in an old orchard. But there is something about Piper’s Orchard that fosters community. On Saturday, I discovered that applies to kids as well.

All told, we had 33 participants from Viewlands. FOPO turned out eight volunteers, and at least four Parks professionals helped directly. No doubt there were others working “behind the scenes.” During the event, we had some drop-in visitors, so the total people count was about 50.

Following is a gallery of pictures from the event.

bees n blossom 2 bees n blossom 5 bees n blossom 6 IMG_2288 IMG_2295 IMG_2296 IMG_2297 IMG_2305 IMG_2306

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