Explore experiential learning opportunities for children at Spikenard Farm and bringing our staff to your school
At The Honeybee Sanctuary
Our school programs at the Honeybee Sanctuary are well balanced between experiences in nature, in the gardens, with the bees, and with classroom lessons. Spikenard’s 41 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains has river frontage, forest, pasture, orchards, a vegetable garden, and extensive flowering fields and gardens. Our facilities allow for groups of 30 or less to camp on-site under the bright stars, with bathrooms and a shower, a fire-pit, and a kitchenette (depending on how ‘experiential’ you would like the trip to be). Lectures and indoor activities are facilitated in our beautiful Bee Barn with age appropriate lessons taught by our experienced teaching staff.
The typical program lasts three days and two nights, and is an incredible experience for children to get their hands, hearts, and minds engaged all together with the plants, honeybees, and all aspects of the natural world.
We like to know a bit about what the students have learned already in school and work with the teacher to build a program that serves the curriculum or lesson block that the students are engaged with.
Our broad lecture topics include, but are not limited to:
- The life of the honeybees
- The world of insects and pollinators
- The plant kingdom
- The relationship between plant and pollinator
- Aspects of soil, compost, and the mineral kingdom
- The animal kingdom and its role in nature
The human being and our partnership with nature.
- Farming, gardening, and beekeeping
- Experiences with honey, propolis, and wax
Outdoor activities include, but are not limited to:
- Gardening activities: planting seeds, transplanting flowers, weeding, making cuttings, building compost, sifting and mixing potting soil, gathering seeds, harvesting vegetables, spreading mulch and compost
- Morning chore groups with activities such as watering, opening the greenhouses, seed saving work, cleaning and preparing for the day’s work, etc.
- Experiences with the honeybee colonies and beekeepers doing their work
- Hikes and nature walks
- Observing the activity of pollinators
- Group discussions and play at the river
- Gathering materials and fire building
- Clean up group to close the day’s work
At Your School
Part of our educational mission is to help schools bring awareness of the honeybees onto campus, into their curriculum, and into their wider community. Planting forage for the honeybees and native pollinators is a great way to start transforming the campus and ‘setting the table’ for the bees to begin a relationship with the students. Offering advice and helping to assess the possibilities for honeybee forage, native pollinator forage and housing sites, and bringing honeybee hives to your school are all initiatives that we can support. Giving talks and lectures to all ages of the student body, as well as to teachers, parents, staff, and beekeeping workshops for the local community are all often part of our school visits.
We would be interested to explore any or all of these options in a visit to your school. We also recognize that most schools are on a tight budget, and therefore we are very open to becoming creative together in raising the funds needed to make things happen. Often, a publicly held workshop can be organized that will bring in the funds needed to cover the costs for the trip (including travel, honorarium, lodging, advertising, etc.).