Local youth learn about pollination and the native bee ...

A collection of 80 Waukon Middle School sixth grade students are set to use their critical thinking skills to take part in solving a real world agriculture challenge through the 2019 4-H Ag Innovators Experience (4-H AIE) Native Bee Challenge. Youth were challenged to learn how increasing biodiversity, specifically by increasing habitat for the native bees, benefits the local food supply and agriculture. Working in teams, the students created a model of pollination that includes five types of native bees and five types of flowers to explore the process of pollination and the connections it has to the global food supply. Youth explored a variety of scenarios that the bees may encounter and seek ways to increase pollinator habitat to grow the overall bee population and increase biodiversity.

The collaborative, hands-on challenge helped youth:

• Learn about the different types of native bees and their life cycles.
• Learn why bees visit flowers.
• Understand the importance and economic impact of the native bee pollination to local food supply.
• Understand challenges that impact the native bee population.
• Explore ways to increase the native bee population and promote biodiversity.

As a part of the 4-H program, 18 teenagers took on the challenge and responsibility of preparing educational materials and trained to serve as educational assistants at various programs. One of the youth trained facilitators was Allamakee County 4-H member Madalyn Palmer (pictured in center of photo directly above). She was trained to facilitate curriculum made up of hands-on activities about making bee nests, pollination, native bees and increasing habitat (some of those activities pictured clockwise from the top in the three photos at right). She practiced teaching the activities to a group of elementary school youth as part of the training and she then took her training into the sixth grade Science classroom at Waukon Middle School to facilitate the lesson. Palmer was assisted by Allamakee County Youth Coordinator Morgan Bjerke and Iowa State Extension Profession Development Specialist Lynne Campbell.

The 4-H Ag Innovators Experience program is presented by National 4-H Council and BAYER to help develop critical workforce skills in young people and show that agriculture can be relevant and fun. For more information about the Allamakee County 4-H Program, contact the Allamakee County Extension Office in Waukon at 563-568-6345. Submitted photos.

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