Day 4 of my “Spaceship Earth” class at Peace Village Newberg focused on the theme of biodiversity, and of the importance of each part, each job, in ensuring that the whole system works well. (If you missed my earlier posts on this, see Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.)
For day 4, we talked about biodiversity, including the five kingdoms (animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, and protists), and the importance of each in making sure an ecosystem functions properly. We discussed a little bit about the role of human beings within that ecosystem. Then I sent them out on a biodiversity scavenger hunt around the property in small groups with a counselor. It’s a great scavenger hunt (see at left)! We didn’t have a ton of time, but they seemed to enjoy it. They took notes in their field journals about what they found to check off different parts of the scavenger hunt, and reported on them the next day.
After the scavenger hunt, we had a special guest: a bee-tender, Mark Thompson of Fair Wage Coffee. He also has some bee hives in addition to his coffee business, and the honey he collects is amazing! He came and shared with us about bees, how they collect honey, what the importance of bees is in pollinating, and so forth. He brought honey for everyone to taste. He did a great job, and both the younger and older groups really enjoyed getting to hear about bees, his stories of how to collect honey (and of a bear one time), and learning about the importance of pollination. I would have liked to connect it more clearly to the need to not kill all the bees with insecticides, but that was a bit beyond the scope of what these kids could handle and the amount of time we had. But hopefully it’s something that will stick in their minds as important as they get older and start making such decisions themselves.