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by Ina Warren, Make Way for Monarchs A beauty-full spring day, surrounded by a Carolina blue sky and Redbud trees in full blossom was the perfect venue to talk about pollinators, native bees, honeybees and monarch butterflies at the annual Earthfest at Brevard College http://www.brevard.edu/ n ew s - eve n t s / n ew s / a p r 1 2 - c e l e b r a t e earthfest (south of Asheville, NC) on Sat. April 12, 2014. One of the festival’s favorite displays was our educational beehive I brought from home. My husband Tim is a beekeeper and had constructed a sturdy table-top box allowing folks to see a ‘hand-full’ of live bees and their comb. It was so great seeing kids watch the honeybees behind the safe, protective plexiglass covering. Once each “knew” it was safe, they inched a little closer to the display table. Then most spent 5-10 minutes, spellbound, watching the bees with a magnifying glass.
I set up an extensive display tent for the “Day of Action and Contemplation” with educational exhibits and had 400 packets of free, locally native milkweed seeds available. The Rachel Carson table had a copy of the 50th anniversary edition, her wonderful “A Sense of Wonder” book and a copy of “A Liturgy for the Butterflies” prepared by Gary Paul Nabhan, OEF and Katie Cook, OEF.
How wonderful to meet one young child who already knew a lot about bees, having been taught by his Papa. He even showed me the technique with his hands of how to squeeze a smoker when it was needed to calm the bees in a hive box. It struck me that Rachel Carson was surely smiling from the spirit world at these youngsters being so caught up in a sense of wonder about honeybees.
Panels (from brochure from the Rachel Carson Council) on the left side of the display are available in this PDF for reading. http://www.rachelcarsoncouncil.org/ u p l o a d s / b r o c h u r e s / rcc_cent_brochure_web.pdf Most visitors had heard of the recent honeybee decline but few knew of the monarch population crash. The monarch table featured: * a print copy of Dr Chip Taylor’s Monarch Butterfly Recovery Plan from http:// monarchwatch.org/blog/ ; * the latest educational Monarch Lab workbooks for teachers who stopped by tent http://www.monarchlab.org/store/c-2books-curriculum-guides.aspx * a poster showing where additional species of milkweed seeds are available: http://shop.monarchwatch.org Also featured was a poster highlighting last week’s installation of the new Pollinator Garden at the White House!! I printed a list of all the plants (scientific and common names) as well. A copy of First Lady Michelle Obama’s book, American Grown, http://www.amazon.com/
American-Grown-Michelle-Obama-ebook/dp/ B 0 0 8 3 D H I G A / r e f = s r _ 1 _ 1 ? ie=UTF8&qid=1397416538&sr=8-1&keywords =michelle+obama+american+grown
A great 26 page booklet on children’s activities may be viewed here: http://www.rachelcarsoncouncil.org/ uploads/publications/little %20friends_web.pdf
has a terrific history of the connections of the White House kitchen, herb, and pollinator garden from the days of the extraordinary gardener/botanist/statesman/ President Thomas Jefferson. Here’s a fun Facebook page connected set up by the publisher: https://www.facebook.com/ AmericanGrown http://makewayformonarchs.org/pdfs/dayof-action.pdf
Here’s the link where these posters can be viewed and ordered: h t t p : / / w w w. p o l l i n a t o r. o r g / P D F s / PollinatorPathwaysFINAL.pdf and http://www.pollinator.org/NativeBees.htm
Other fun activities for Earthfest included seeing visiting llamas up close and personal, a reptile exhibit, crafts (including creating butterflies with water colors and coffee filters), face painting and more. Student bands from the College (including a most excellent mountain music band) complemented the festival atmosphere with their tunes. During early morning “display-set up time” I had a very good feeling when the amplifiers sweetened the air with Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky”. And I thought to myself: Almost heaven, Blue Ridge Mountains...: I’ve already gone to the place that’s the best. h t t p : / / w w w. y o u t u b e . c o m / w a t c h ? v=AZQxH_8raCI&feature=kp Additional photos from the event will be posted on the Make Way for Monarchs Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/ MakeWayForMonarchs
A separate stand-alone display of several Pollinator Partnership posters was also popular with adults.