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Classes team up with city, zoo to save bees

Some+of+Mrs.+Ramberg%27s+students+have+been+asked+to+paint+bee+houses+for+the+Topeka+Zoo%27s+pollinator+palooza.+Students+painted+native+plants+and+flowers+that+would+attract+Kansas+bees.
Some of Mrs. Ramberg's students have been asked to paint bee houses for the Topeka Zoo's pollinator palooza. Students painted native plants and flowers that would attract Kansas bees.

Some of Mrs. Ramberg's students have been asked to paint bee houses for the Topeka Zoo's pollinator palooza. Students painted native plants and flowers that would attract Kansas bees.

Margaret Ramberg

Margaret Ramberg

Some of Mrs. Ramberg's students have been asked to paint bee houses for the Topeka Zoo's pollinator palooza. Students painted native plants and flowers that would attract Kansas bees.

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For the past several months, the phrase “save the bees” has made an appearance almost everywhere – social media, t-shirts, buttons and more. It was not until 2017 that bee populations finally started to see an increase after their numbers drastically declined due to disease, parasites, climate change, and numerous other causes. However, their numbers are still low all across the United States, and this is true for Kansas bee populations as well.

The Topeka Zoo has proposed a way to raise awareness and money for native Kansan bees – an event that they call “Pollinator Palooza”.

Not only will the palooza feature native bees, but guests will have the chance to walk through a free-flying butterfly pavilion housing five different species of butterfly. This event is centered around the Mayor’s Pledge to Help Save the Monarch Butterfly in 2016, and has been expanded to educate the public on all different types of pollinators.

Multiple departments within Seaman High School have been chosen to work together to help the zoo with their fundraising campaign. The zoo contacted Mr. Ed Tomanek, woodworking teacher, and asked him to build bee houses that could be painted and sold at the palooza. His classes quickly got busy building the small houses, which resemble bird houses; when finished they totaled 104.

Some of Mrs. Emily Rudy’s and Mrs. Margaret Ramberg’s art classes are painting the bee houses. Mrs. Ramberg explained that students have been researching flora native to Kansas and painting that, along with the occasional bee or honeycomb, on their bee houses.

“Once we’re done painting them, the woodshop will shellac them and then they’ll be going to the Topeka Zoo to be sold for $10 a piece,” Mrs. Ramberg also added that proceeds from the sale would go towards the preservation of native Kansas bees.

Mrs. Kelly Neiman’s digital media class is creating a “Flowers of Kansas” pamphlet for the flower sale which will happen on Mother’s day weekend.  They will also create some of the display tags for the plants.

“These flowers are native to Kansas and favorites of the bees.  We’ve had to do some research on light requirements and plant needs so these plants will be successful once they leave the greenhouses,”  Mrs. Neiman said.  “Then we design publications which reflect that info in an easy-to-read, entertaining manner.”

The business department is also playing their part in this big event. Mrs. Gina Stanley’s graphic design classes are tasked with creating the event logo, a Facebook information slide, and a bee timeline.

Mrs. Stanley said “One of my former students is involved from the zoo side, and these are real-life applications of skills that students gain in class.”

The butterfly pavilion is expected to be open to guests June through September, and native Kansas plants and colorful bee houses will be available for purchase over Mother’s Day weekend.

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Classes team up with city, zoo to save bees