Bee Project

Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
As my regular readers know by now, I love, love, love bees. One of my acquaintances and readers, Beth Ann, an early childhood educator who also makes pottery, just turned me on to a new project that seems to be modeled on the Audubon Society's annual bird count. She specifically mentioned that this would be a great project to work on with little boy- I can see great homeschool or Montessori project potential here, for those of you who are on that track.

You plant native sunflowers (they send the seeds to you for free!) in your yard, garden, or even in a largeish pot for patio gardeners. After the sunflowers are planted and blooming, you go out to your garden, have a little sit, and time how long it takes for 5 bees to visit your sunflowers. You can report the data online or send it in, snail-mail. The website, , has tips on gardening for bees, what to do about bee stings, where to visit public gardens, forums, a guide to identifying bees, and additional resources on bees and their importance to our ecology and food systems.

Thanks, Beth Ann, for turning me on to this project. I've already signed up and will dedicate a patch of my front garden to blessing and counting the bees! The little honeybees in my neighborhood are already buzzing around the muscari, the last of the flowering quince, and the new blossoms of the hollies. Buzz, buzz!