Rita Hagevik PhD
Graduate Director of Science Education
University of North Carolina-Pembroke
One University Drive
PO Box 1510
Pembroke, NC 28372
Project Title: The Kids in the Garden: Bees and Pollen Studies
The Kids in the Garden: Bees and Pollen Studies is a program for rising 7th to 12th grade students from Bladen, Robeson, Cumberland and surrounding counties, in which students' study pollinators with undergraduate college students and professors in the Biology, Geology, and Physics Departments at UNC-Pembroke. The Department of Agriculture reports that one of every three bites that Americans take is affected, directly or indirectly, by bees. The collapse in native bee and honeybee populations from a combination of parasites, insecticides, infection, and a loss of uncultivated land indicates a need for immediate research, education, and outreach in this area. This opportunity is unique because students will combine out of door studies at the Campus Garden & Apiary with inside research at the University. The many products from bees will be explored including wax, honey, pollen, and propolis. The program is designed to introduce students to the study pollinators, scientific equipment and techniques, and research centers through a two-week summer "bee camp" and a Saturday program during the academic year. Students conduct their own research in research teams on Saturdays in the fall, ultimately entering their research in science competitions such as the Science and Engineering fair, NC Student Academy of Sciences competition, and NC Junior Science and Humanities Symposia in the spring. The main educational goals of our project are to nurture minority and disadvantaged middle and high school students' interest, enthusiasm and identity in the sciences, and to increase their knowledge and career interest in the fields of biology, agriculture, biotechnology, and engineering. By promoting STEM careers and non-cognitive factors (i.e., belonging, knowledge, experience), this project increases the likelihood of educational success and college-going. The main scientific goal is to study native bees, honeybees, honey and pollen, bee health, beekeeping, biosensors and tracking. Twenty-five middle and high school students each year attend the summer bee camp and 28 students participate during the academic year program along with four faculty, one master teacher and undergraduate college students engaging in eight science research projects.