Prussing School students learn about honey bees and gardening at SRB Spirit Community Garden workshop
by JASON MEREL
Prussing School students participated on Oct. 7 in a workshop at the SRB Spirit Community Garden, 4935 N. Central Ave., which featured information about gardening and a beekeeping presentation.
About 60 students from three sixth-grade classes gathered for a group presentation by beekeeping company Alveole’s lead beekeeper for the Midwest, Brittany Buckles, as she explained bees’ role as pollinators, the various bees found in a honeybee hive and what job each insect performs for the hive.
Students formed small groups and rotated to several stations around the garden, where volunteers discussed water conservation, composting, seed collecting, the lifecycle and importance of milkweed, how to plant pollinator gardens and how bees produce honey. Students got to sample five different types of honey.
“We use interactive pollinator workshops to grab peoples’ attention and hearts to make real change in communities,” Buckles said. “Today we had a special opportunity to give back to the community. Usually our workshops are given to our clients that host honeybee hives, but today we wanted to help connect 60 sixth-graders to nature through our pollinator workshop by partnering with the wonderful Spirit Community Garden.”
Alveole provides beekeeping services to corporate clients, schools and other organizations looking to include bees in their sustainability plans. Buckles said the company currently services hives at one CPS school, Chappell School, 2135 W. Foster Ave.
The Spirit Community Garden is maintained weekly by a group of volunteers. “We have about 5 or 6, sometimes 10 people come and work the garden,” volunteer Peggy Meyer said.
Volunteer Jan Parker Scalzitti said that last year, the garden donated more than 1,500 pounds of fresh produce to the former Saint Cornelius Food Pantry.
“We felt good too, that we were feeding the community, helping people with fresh produce that was organically grown,” Scalzitti said. She said that anyone can volunteer at the garden, regardless of experience level, and everyone learns from each other.
Founded as the SRB Spirit Community Garden, the plot is now maintained in partnership with NeighborSpace. According to its Web site, the nonprofit urban land trust provides property ownership, insurance, water, stewardship, education, tool lending, project planning, fundraising support and troubleshooting.
The workshop is conducted in the fall as part of the organization’s education goals.
The Spirit Community Garden is looking for volunteers and donations. Volunteer Patti Porto said it was a good opportunity for her to get outside and meet good people.
“Plus I get to take some awesome stuff home to eat,” she said. “I’ve tried stuff I’ve never had before, like golden beets.”