BANGOR, Mich. — Two Bangor, MI blueberry farmers – with help from USDA’s SARE Research and Demonstration program and NRCS – knew that the two acre wildflower field at the back of their property was perfect for a walking trail that could help kids understand how wildflowers, blueberries and pollinators work together, but when it was ready to go there was only one way to be sure.
And so, the local school district obliged and on the day of the official opening of the Bees, Please! trail and education center last Friday, two busses rolled up with 90 Fifth graders, ready to give it the big test.
To get the youngsters in the right frame of mind, stations were set up in the front field of Moss Funnel Farms. At one, kids could try and pick out a red painted queen in a portable hive brought by the day’s main speaker, Dr. Adam Ingram, an entomologist at Michigan State who also heads a program to get returning veterans into farming and beekeeping. Another station, manned by Joe Corrado, who grows and sells the farm’s blueberries under the Joe’s Blues label, let the students practice scraping wax from bee frames.
Then it was on to the one-fifth mile pollinator field, where the young people hiked out along the trail to watch bees and butterflies at work. “You think you’ve got it right, but you really don’t know until the kids actually go through it,” said Joe’s dad, Frank, the project manager for Bees, Please!, who worked with MSU to produce large info panels for the visitor’s center and 10 trail stops.
Corrado said that Bees, Please! has been designed specifically for grade school kids and is open to schools and visitors year round from Sunrise to Sunset. Info is available at www.beespleasetrail.com.
“I was worried that the kids would just be yelling and laughing and running around,” said Corrado. “But then I asked this one young lady if she liked the trail, and she said ‘yes’ and then I asked her what was the best part and she answered, ‘when I found a dead mole.’ Sharp kids for sure.”
— Joe’s Blues
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