The buzz about bees: Murdock fourth-graders partner with nature center for pollinator garden
by MDJ staff
June 14, 2014 12:00 AM | 1355 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jackie Bold’s class of fourth graders at Murdock Elementary in Cobb County presented a donation of $369 to Dunwoody Nature Center for its new pollinator garden. The donation was a culmination of the class’ year-long bee project and intended to support efforts to save honeybees. Pictured are the Murdock Elementary teacher Jackie Bold (back row, left) and Dunwoody Nature Center program manager David Boyd (back row, right). They are surrounded by Bold’s 2013-14 fourth grade class. <br> Special to the MDJ
Jackie Bold’s class of fourth graders at Murdock Elementary in Cobb County presented a donation of $369 to Dunwoody Nature Center for its new pollinator garden. The donation was a culmination of the class’ year-long bee project and intended to support efforts to save honeybees. Pictured are the Murdock Elementary teacher Jackie Bold (back row, left) and Dunwoody Nature Center program manager David Boyd (back row, right). They are surrounded by Bold’s 2013-14 fourth grade class.
Special to the MDJ
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After learning that honeybees are mysteriously disappearing worldwide, a fourth grade class at Murdock Elementary in Cobb County School District swarmed around the plight of the honeybee, initiating a nine-month project.

At the beginning of the school year, Jackie Bold’s class of 27 students read a cover story in Time Magazine titled “The Plight of the Honeybee” by Bryan Walsh. The students were moved by the importance of the honeybee to pollination of crops worldwide and puzzled by their dwindling population. According to the Time article, one-third of the human diet relies on some degree of bee pollination, including almonds, which are 100 percent dependent on bees for pollination.

Under Bold’s supervision, the students studied the issue and researched possible solutions. Taking advantage of the students’ passion on this issue, Bold also incorporated bees and pollination into her curriculum when appropriate. Bees became part of math equations and inference assignments as well as development of problem solving, goal setting and strategic planning skills for the students.

“The students’ desire to help the honeybees provided inspiration for them to learn across the board. As a teacher, it was fascinating to watch them process everything they learned and use that knowledge to make decisions as a team to achieve their goal. This was a truly unique group of kids,” Bold said.

With the help of parent volunteer Gerry Kiernan, honey tasting was a recurring event for the class. Kiernan as well as students brought in honey from their travels from Marietta to as far away as Arizona and Vermont. The students also enjoyed a detailed presentation on bees, beehives and beekeeping by fourth-generation beekeeper Robby Maxwell with Bees Knees Apiary in Lilburn.

The students ultimately set a goal to plant 100 bee-friendly plants to support pollinators locally. To fund this endeavor and to increase awareness of the issue, they sold flowering bulbs to friends and family through FlowerPowerFundraising.com. Raising $369, the students chose to partner with Dunwoody Nature Center on its new pollinator garden to support its on-site beehives. Although the students had hoped to get dirty with actual planting, they decided to allow the Center’s master gardeners to use their expertise in soil preparation, plant selection and planting to ensure success of the pollinator garden. This option also increased the amount of plants to be planted due to the master gardeners’ access to lower priced specimens. A check was presented to David Boyd, Program Manager for Dunwoody Nature Center, during Murdock’s opening ceremonies for its annual field day on May 13, 2014. Some students visited the Center with their families on June 1 to see the freshly planted pollinator garden.

For more information on the project, contact parent volunteer Yvonne Matherne at (678) 925-1126. For more information on Dunwoody Nature Center, visit DunwoodyNature.org.

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