Pioneer Pollinators

Project Overview

Project Type: Youth Educator
Funds awarded in 2017: $969.00
Projected End Date: 01/31/2019
Grant Recipient: Zane Trace FFA Organization
Region: North Central
State: Ohio
Project Manager:
Jennifer Johnston
Zane Trace HS


  • Animals: bees
  • Animal Products: honey


  • Animal Production: feed/forage
  • Crop Production: pollination, pollinator habitat, pollinator health
  • Education and Training: demonstration, display, youth education
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity
  • Production Systems: holistic management
  • Sustainable Communities: public participation, sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    Project Abstract

    The Pioneer Pollinators Project will be able to educate the youth in the Zane Trace School District about the importance of honey bees and pollinators in agriculture. Students will have the opportunity to tour bee hives located at their school to get an even closer look at how a bee hive functions. During the spring students from first grade through six grade will be given lessons on pollinators using pollinator friendly seeds to take home, interactive lessons, and more in their classrooms. The students will then bring what they learned home to their parents where the impact continues.

    Detailed Project Plan and Timeline

    January – Beginning in January, I will begin to contact teachers in the elementary and middle school about dates when I can visit their classrooms to begin the Pioneer Pollinator Project. March would be the initial classroom visit and presentation, while April will be the outside part of the lesson. Along with contacting teachers, now is the time I will take action to contact Bayer and Syngenta about receiving donations for seeds. The seeds will be given to the kids to take home to plant, to encourage them to build a more diverse environment for pollinators.

    February – As March approaches, it will be important that all materials for the presentation are collected. During this time, I will continue to monitor the beehives kept at the school, and collect samples of beeswax, honey samples, an observatory hive box and honey bee hive game.

    March – Presentations in classrooms will begin. After contacting teachers and learning more about the curriculum for each grade level, I will teach a more focused lesson specific to each age group. The focus of each lesson will be the same, but with the application increasing with each grade. During these in-class lessons, students will be given an initial quiz on what they know about the honey bee so that their growth of knowledge throughout the two lessons will be measurable at the end of the educational program.

    April – The second phase of the lessons will start in April. The warmer weather will allow classes to get outside and have the opportunity to have a bee hive tour. Learning more about how a bee hive functions, allows students to understand that honey bees aren’t “scary” and that the pollinators play an important role in agricultural and in the environment. Students will be given a worksheet where they will observe and identify the pollinators and plants they feed so they become more aware of their presence in the environment. Following this final lesson, the students will receive a follow up quiz on the knowledge they have gained from the presentations.

    May – Following the presentations will be time for me to evaluate the student’s quizzes and determine the effectiveness of the Pioneer Pollinator Project. While, others high school students will be working with my on the lessons, they will gain more knowledge about this project so that they can continue doing presentations after I graduate.

    The Lesson Plan is as follows:
    Part I In-Class Lesson – A date will be set up where I will visit the elementary and middle school class rooms at my school, and complete the first half of the Pioneer Pollinators lesson. This lesson will focus primarily on the anatomy of the honey bee, the functioning of the hive, and most importantly the importance of bees.
    Students will be given the initial quiz for pre-requisite knowledge, however, during the lesson students will be responsible for filling in answers they hear on a worksheet. The worksheet will include questions such as, “Why are honeybees so important,” “How many wings does a honeybee have,” “1 in every ____ bites of food you eat is pollinated by a honeybee?” Along with questions, the worksheet will have a picture to color to keep students stimulated and interested.

    Part II Outdoor Lesson – A second date set up with the elementary teachers will be used for me to take students outside to tour hives, and become more aware of the flora and fauna surrounding our school. While on this outside tour, students will first participate in a “Honey Bee Hive Game” where their lesson on how a hive works is taken to the next level as they take on the role of workers in the hives. Students will also be given a worksheet on their walk to the schools’ hives where they will be asked to notice plants and animals they might see. Finally, the students will be able to witness a hive inspection while I wear a honey bee suit and show students, from a distance, the inside workings of a hive.

    Following lessons, teachers will administer a follow-up quiz to measure their growth from the lessons.

    Educating students about the importance of honey bees in agriculture is an important step to decreasing the harmful environmental impact humans often have on the Earth. Although, teaching profitable of safe practices for honey bees is not in this project the concepts students gain will affect the care of our land and the success of farmers.

    Resources Used

    The Pioneer Pollinators Project thankfully has been shown tremendous support up to this point. I will be working with the Zane Trace High School FFA Chapter during this project. The FFA Chapter will assist me in conducting the lessons, and members will be playing a immensely helpful role by doing so.

    As a beekeeper myself, I have developed relationships with groups such as the Scioto Valley Beekeepers that I can rely on for support. Additionally, I have contacted researchers at Syngenta and Bayer who have developed educational materials related to pollinators that I will use.

    In the lessons students will be exposed to an observatory hive in the classroom. An observatory hive is a single frame covered in bees in a glass box with the purpose of viewing. Other materials used in the lecture will be pieces of wax, worksheets, and other hive pieces/tools.

    Flower seeds will be donated by Bayer and Syngenta to use in the lessons. Students can plant seeds at their homes to increase pollinator habitat in their own backyard.


    Once the Pioneer Pollinator Project has been completed and first graders through six graders have all learned more about the worlds pollinators, the next step will be to tell people!

    During the lessons more than 500 students will be able to grow and gain knowledge about sustainable agriculture, but an even bigger impact will arise when the students bring their parents’ home flower seeds, and information sheets about the honey bee. This will encourage parents to be more environmentally conscious when considering spraying their house or flowers with bee killing pesticides.

    The first step to change is making people aware of an issue. The health of the honey bee is rapidly declining, which is a dangerous thing for the agriculture industry. Many crops such as almonds, depend heavily on the pollination honey bees provide. 1 out of every three bites of food you eat is there because of pollinators. Honey bees are a tremendous asset in the world economy, so making students and families aware of this issue is the first step toward fixing this problem.

    Acting as the President and former Reporter for the Zane Trace FFA Chapter, I will be able to form an article to be published in the Chillicothe Gazette Newspaper, which is published every day in a community of 22,000. Along with a newspaper article, the Zane Trace FFA members of around 140 will have the opportunity to participate in lessons, learn more about the project, and spread the information they have learned as well. I believe that this unique project will have a significant rippling affect throughout the Ross County community.

    Student and Community Impact

    The lessons are going to expose students to information about how important agriculture is in their lives. Often times, even for adults, people forget how important the environment and agriculture is to their daily lives.

    The impact will be measured through a quiz before and after the lessons. The quiz will have the same questions each time, so it can accurately measure how much the students have learned. Along with pre- and post- quizzes, attendance will be taken as well to get an accurate number of the number of students involved.

    These lessons will also include other local beekeepers, organic vegetable producers, and farmers in this area. Providing students with multiple perspectives on how pollinators affect people will deepen the knowledge they gain.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Educate students in the Zane Trace School District about the importance of honey bees and pollinators in agriculture.
    2. Encourage kids to build a more diverse environment for pollinators by planting seeds at home.
    3. Increase parents' understanding of bee ecology and sustainable agriculture by publishing articles and sending home information sheets about the Pioneer Pollinators Project.
    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.