Bees, Pleeze! – Adding an educational component to a wildflower field at a Midwest blueberry farm

Project Overview

FNC18-1118
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2018: $7,500.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2018
Grant Recipient: Moss Funnel Farms
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Project Coordinator:
Frank Corrado
Moss Funnel Farms

Information Products

Commodities

  • Fruits: berries (blueberries)

Practices

  • Crop Production: beekeeping, pollination, pollinator habitat, pollinator health
  • Education and Training: youth education
  • Farm Business Management: agritourism
  • Natural Resources/Environment: habitat enhancement

    Summary:

    While there has been much media coverage in the last few years about massive die-offs in pollinator populations and the threat this poses to agriculture, the need to demonstrate the importance of pollinators to the food supply to the public has been spotty and mostly limited to broad and superficial coverage.

    The purpose of this SARE education/demonstration project is to provide an on-farm educational experience that graphically shows local residents and summer visitors to Michigan’s fruit belt the ecology of pollinators in a commercial blueberry habitat.

    A pollinator education trail will be designed and constructed in a wildflower field adjacent to a producing blueberry field. The field and trail will also include hands-on activities for kids, and two special 2018 field days for educators. Measureable results will provide a basis for measuring the effectiveness of this approach.

    Project objectives:

    Our program objectives include

    • Identifying an optimal design and scale for a low-cost pollination education trail in a two acre wildflower field adjacent to a working blueberry
    • Evaluating the effectiveness of such a trail in attracting and informing seasonal visitors –especially children – about bees and commercial farming
    • Share findings of this agro-educational effort via field days, a conference presentation and social media.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.