LEWISBURG — Schools are often filled with different kinds of quirky clubs, often built around classes, but often also around interests.
At Lewisburg High, a beekeeping club is something that excites students, teachers, and administrators.
Club adviser Matt Lupold said a relationship with the Lewisburg Community Garden came through a number of different avenues.
“First, a high school student had kept bees in the garden a few years ago as part of a senior project, so a connection was made,” Lupold said. “Also, we knew the garden manager simply because we were part of the local community.”
Club advisor Dillon Durinick said that in 2017 one of his students, Sarah Reif, approached him about starting a high school beekeeping club.
“I knew very little about beekeeping at the time, and over the years I’ve come in contact with some really great students, educators, and community members,” Durinick said. “Our student leaders this year deserve to be recognized because they have been truly amazing in helping us move forward.”
Durinick said high school principal Paula Reber has also been helpful in providing educational opportunities regarding beekeeping.
Dr. Beth Capaldi, professor of biology at Bucknell University, suggested the group use the community garden as a bee colony location.
Lupold said that for the first year “of really having bees that the whole club is responsible for, we plan to have four colonies of bees, also called hives,” he said. “Having multiple colonies allows us to experiment with different management strategies, like feeding, pest control, and bee box size.”
Lupold said bees play an important role in the pollination process. Eventually, he said the club hoped the colony could provide honey. “The addition of bees will help in the pollination of the different species of plants grown by community members in their plots.”
“Having bee colonies in a public space can also provide awareness and information about the vital role pollinators play in our ecosystem,” Lupold says. “We hope to reduce the stigma that bees are aggressive and dangerous creatures. In reality, they are very reserved and logical.
The students do all the upkeep of the hive under the supervision of an advisor. The bee boxes are made of pine and were assembled and painted by club members, according to Lupold.
Lupold said that from an outside perspective, the public can help “by asking us questions if you see us at the community garden.”
The ultimate goal of this club is to educate students about the importance of beekeeping.
Students involved in the little one include Rudy Kristjanson-Gural, Alex Zimmerman-Comas and Olivia Meyer.