James Riley, 6, of Clinton Township, decorates a flower pot June 19 during Bee Week at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library North Branch.

James Riley, 6, of Clinton Township, decorates a flower pot June 19 during Bee Week at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library North Branch.

Photo by Sarah Purlee


Library educates kids on bees through interactive learning

By: Joshua Gordon | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published June 27, 2018

 Sebastian Page, 5, of Macomb Township, paints a flower pot June 19 with his grandmother, Denise Page, during an event at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library North Branch. The event was part of Bee Week at the library, where kids learned about bees and their relationship with flowers.

Sebastian Page, 5, of Macomb Township, paints a flower pot June 19 with his grandmother, Denise Page, during an event at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library North Branch. The event was part of Bee Week at the library, where kids learned about bees and their relationship with flowers.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — The first instinct when you see a bee may be to run, but the Clinton-Macomb Public Library North Branch used a week of bee-related activities to educate children, and some adults, on the importance of bees.

Bee Week kicked off June 18 at the library, 16800 24 Mile Road, in Macomb Township with a bee-bot robot activity for young kids who got a chance to see how the bee robots responded to their programming. 

On June 19, children got to decorate flower pots and plant a packet of seeds and learn how they attract bees.

On June 20, Brian Peterson from Bees in the D took over the library with his educational program on the role bees play in our ecosystem.

Finally, on June 21, the week closed with a showing of the “Bee Movie” for all ages.

Youth Librarian Lynn Pearce said the week was the first week of summer reading for the library and the staff wanted to do a big event to invite the children and adults into the library. Pearce said she saw Peterson speak on bees at a festival in Armada and thought it would relate well to other programming the library does.

“We want to educate kids and get them excited about different science concepts,” Pearce said. “I thought Brian was an engaging speaker and something the kids could get into, and we found a lot of of bee-related activities.”

With the bee robot activity, Pearce said the children got a taste of beginner’s computer programming by giving the robots commands and then watching them act those commands out.

The flower pot activity was about wildflowers attracting bees and discussing the importance of bees to the flowers, Pearce said. 

“We wanted them to see what we could do to attract bees and to not be afraid of bees,” Pearce said. “A lot of times you think yellow jackets are bees and they are afraid of them, but most honey bees leave you alone if you leave them alone.”

On the third day, Peterson took the opportunity to really get into the lives of honey bees with the children. Peterson started Bees in the D two years ago as a nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate people about and help conserve honey bees. 

Throughout southeastern Michigan, Peterson said he has about 100 hives set up by partnering with homeowners and businesses, including a hive on the roof of the Cobo Center. Peterson does a lot of talks at schools.

At the library, Peterson had children take on the roles of different bees, such as worker bees, and act out their jobs. He also met with adults and helped make flower bombs.

“I hope the children understand the complexity of honey bees a little more and what they do and why they do it,” Peterson said. “Kids are always surprised with the kind of work bees do and how short their lives are. But they learn the importance of bees to us as humans and to the food industry.”

Throughout the week, Pearce said the library created a bibliography that the kids can check out that lists all the different types of books the library has about bees and how they can check them out.

Pearce said the library is all about sharing information, and they want to make it fun for the kids to learn.

“We always hope they know they can come to the library for any information they need and come for fun,” she said. “We hope they are now aware of the importance of bees and what they equate to in our lives and how we really need to work together to save the bees.”

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