West Seattle Bee Garden: The buzz for what’s in the works

(May 2013 photo by WSB’s Katie Meyer)
So what do you do for an encore after you launch a brand-new educational garden with a parade and festival AND win the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce Westsider of the Year award? West Seattle Bee Garden founder Lauren Englund sends word that even bigger things are ahead for the WSBG in the new year – and recaps some of what else happened along the way:

Guess what, the West Seattle Bee Garden (WSBG) crew made a last-minute decision to apply for another Department of Neighborhoods Matching Fund grant this year, and was awarded $18,000! Fantastic news!

This year has been great; not only did West Seattle come together and create the space from scratch in less than three months, but eleven field trips took place there, including a spectacular Seattle Public Library reading event which packed the place with eager learners.

The garden has also had a constant stream of visitors from near and far – really need a guestbook!

Also, local companies including Shipwreck Honey and Seattle Bee Works helped out by building the hives and hosting beekeeping classes at the space. Interested in beekeeping? Keep an eye out for more opportunities down the road!

Here are a few changes you can expect to see at the WSBG, and educational opportunities we hope to share beyond our Bee Garden borders:

A more interactive experience! Along with a few structural enhancements in the garden and surrounding P-Patch, we’ve been brainstorming ways to make a visit to the WSBG more educational and memorable. We will be creating a youtube video of a hive demonstration, creating an opportunity for visitors to see what the inside of the hives look like. The link will be posted on the enclosure, with an accompanying QR code. We also hope to mount a few webcams at the hive entrances, capturing live feed of the bees coming and going, which will also be available online. There is interest in using this video for research purposes – what percentage of bees are returning to the hive with pollen?

More educational outreach! This one is big – so we have the Bee Garden now, but want to utilize it more. Fortunately, there are several exciting opportunities! Here are three that have been coming along:

-The Seattle Public Library (SPL) is incorporating more science and math into its programming, cool! The WSBG will team up to participate in the SPL Summer of Learning. Also, the SPL will be launching a new STEM program during a portion of the school year. There is an opportunity for the WSBG to participate in the biology portion of this program, fun!

-We were fortunate to have recently been introduced to a wonderful man named Korvus Barefoot Blackbird – who is very passionate about teaching kids about bees! Not only that, but he has written an entire curriculum, and put it to use in the past with great success! Korvus is willing to work with our local Middle College students at the High Point Neighborhood House, as well as host field trips from surrounding schools. He combines art, math and science in a way that makes learning fun, and will certainly have a lasting impact. I am excited to see his great ideas come to life!

-Members of the Institute for Systems Biology have been working hard to help create learning opportunities at the WSBG – and assisted in forming much of our grant application. Not only that, but their education programmer has connections with people who have created bee related curriculums. There are many potential opportunities here, including creating a program for the Library, as well as material that could be utilized in local classrooms. West Seattle Elementary and Roxhill Elementary have expressed interest in incorporating pollinator curriculums in their school, combined with a visit to the WSBG. We’ll see what the future holds!

We’ll host a blog next year – and do a better job of keeping everyone up to date on what’s going on in the hives…more to come!

Last, but not least – mark your calendars; we’re having another West Seattle Bee Festival! The date will be Saturday, May 10th, a bit earlier this time in order to avoid overlapping with the Alki (Seattle Summer Streets event) again. The High Point Neighborhood Association and friends of the WSBG will be hosting. Combined with funding from the Department of Neighborhoods, it should be lots of fun for everyone. Will even have another parade – similar to this past year. Want to participate in the parade, great! Everyone is welcome!

Side Note: Want to become a P-Patch Gardener? There are several opportunities at the WSBG, part of the Commons Park P-Patch. Participation would entail taking on an assigned portion of the garden, including maintenance and creation of your own section of beautiful pollinator friendly plants! Feel free to contact us via our website: westseattlebeegarden.com. We’ll work with the P-Patch to make you official!

Thank you very much to EVERYONE who has helped the Bee Garden become a reality, and for those who want to help keep the ball rolling. It was a simple blog post (in May 2012) that created the momentum to get the West Seattle Bee Garden on the right track. Thank you to all of the readers who offered support, and showed up at our work parties. And thank you to the Department of Neighborhoods, the P-Patch program, the High Point Open Space Association, and the Seattle Housing Authority for hosting and facilitating our dreams!

5 Replies to "West Seattle Bee Garden: The buzz for what's in the works"

  • LyndaB December 9, 2013 (1:17 pm)

    That’s so awesome! Thank you for sharing!

  • ttt December 9, 2013 (8:27 pm)

    Love the educational aspect of this! Thank you bee garden people!!

  • Carolei December 9, 2013 (9:30 pm)

    Thank you Lauren Englund!

  • metrognome December 10, 2013 (3:03 am)

    well, ain’t that the bee’s knees! Cool project; shows what one person can do when their passion flowers in the community. Kudos to the WSBlog and Forum participants for helping to germinate this idea.

  • Elisaid December 13, 2013 (3:57 pm)

    Huh, what do you know, I work for Institute for Systems Biology. They do really great things there. :)

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