Calling kids who are ready to buzz through family-friendly, science-based fun projects and learn about bees. Bee a Junior Pollinator Biologist is the title of WSU Chelan/Douglas Master Gardener’s free Third Saturday in the Garden event at the Community Education Garden.
The family-friendly event is 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 15. The garden is at the northwest corner of Western and Springwater avenues in Wenatchee.
Try on a beekeeper suit, watch a working bee hive, ask an entomologist questions, look through a microscope to identify bee parts — these activities and others are geared to kids 5 and older, although kids any age can enjoy the fun at their level. Information will be offered in both English and Spanish, so you may want to test your skills in a language different from your usual one.
Five stations will be set up, each with an interesting aspect on bees and their value as pollinators. If you like to eat, you should appreciate bees and their skills as our major pollinators. Most of the food we eat comes to us thanks to busy bees doing their jobs pollinating plants.
WSU entomologist Dale Whaley always has interesting insect displays to share and excites kids’ interest in bees. He’s enthusiastic and ready to answer your insect questions.
North Central Washington Beekeepers will display an active hive for observation, where you can look in and see busy bees at work — although they’re not out bothering visitors. The beekeepers will have a beekeeper outfit kids can try on. Learn about how honey is made and what causes different colors and flavors of honey.
Thanks goes to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Wenatchee River Institute, which partnered as sponsors of this event; they are loaning microscopes to give us a close-up look at bees.
At another station, called T-BOBB (tiny black or brown bees) you’ll learn about the multitude of native bees, how tiny most are, and how to search for them.
The fifth station introduces paint brush pollination — learn how to pollinate with a brush just like bees (they use their own bodies as brushes!) Then you can pick out a drawing of your favorite fruit or vegetable and paint it.
Industrious kids who complete all five stations will receive a certificate and a special bag of goodies.
“Along with our sponsors and presenters, we are really excited to engage young people and their families in fun, hands-on, science-based learning,” adds Emily Gale, chair of this family fun day.
All this busy bee activity kicks off National Pollinator Week, June 17-23.
Ask your kids, ask your grandkids, your neighbor’s or come by yourself; we’re all kids at heart.
For more information, phone WSU Extension at 667-6540 weekdays, and before noon on Fridays.
A WSU Master Gardeners of Chelan County column appears weekly in The Wenatchee World. Mary Fran McClure is one of four columnists featured.