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Lenape program creates buzz for students

| Saturday, April 13, 2013, 1:51 a.m.
TOM MITCHELL FOR THE LEADER TIMES Dan Lynch shows students at Lenape Elementary materials used in keeping bees.
TOM MITCHELL FOR THE LEADER TIMES Dan Lynch, left, of Templeton along with Lenape Elementary School faculty members Sean McCafferty and Mert Hellein demonstrate proper garb for beekeepers.

FORD CITY — More than 130 Lenape Elementary School first-grade students learned a lesson about the “birds and bees” Thursday. Well, at least about the bees.

Hobbyist beekeepers Dan and Anita Lynch of Templeton visited the school with samples of hive bodies, bee shipping packages, a smoker, bee suits and a few samples of the products obtained from bees.

Dan Lynch also explained the necessity of pollination by bees for successful agricultural crops, and the danger of common pesticides.

First-grade teacher Mert Hellein said that for the past week, the first-grade students have been learning about honeybees by reading the book “Busy Buzzy Bee.” The Lynchs' visit was the highlight of the students' bee studies.

During his presentation, Lynch surprised students and teachers by saying that bees from a typical hive must visit 1 million flowers to make one pound of honey. He said that just how much honey a hive may produce is largely dependent on weather conditions. A hive's honey production is also adversely affected if the bees are exposed to pesticides.

Students also giggled as they watched Hellein and reading specialist Sean McCafferty don white beekeeping suits that covered them from head to toe. However, Lynch explained that most experienced beekeepers do not suit up from head to toe. He said some bee colonies are relatively “gentle” and beekeepers simply wear a helmet and veil to protect their face — just in case.

Anita Lynch showed students sample jars of honey — some light, some dark — that bees obtained from different plants. She also showed examples of beeswax candles and lip balm.

Dan Lynch explained that honeybee by-products are found in a variety of foods including ice cream and certain pharmaceutical products.

Tom Mitchell is a freelance writerfor the Leader Times.

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