These Girl Scouts are saving wild bees, one ‘hotel’ at a time

Image of bee hotel

Patrick Pearce

But that’s not the only way kids are taking climate action into their own hands. In Colorado, the task of saving bees from the consequences of climate change has fallen to the girls who sell us the best cookies. Yes, you heard that right. Over the summer, at a Girl Scout day camp in Denver, Girl Scout troops fashioned tiny homes for wild bees called “bee hotels” to fight the depopulation of bees across the country.

Bee hotels are like birdhouses for wild bees. Since wild bees don’t make honey, they don’t live in hives, but they’re always in need of a suitable habitat. Out in the wild, these bees often nest in holes in fallen logs, dead trees, and broken branches of bushes. But natural habitats can be hard to come by in developed areas, which is where bee hotels come in.

The troops repurposed cardboard boxes, old paper straws, toilet paper rolls, and other materials to create homes for bees in their local community. The project is part of a new initiative called Think Like A Citizen Scientist Journey, in which girls from grades 6 through 12 develop real-world sustainable projects to create change. After some brainstorming and research, the scouts at the day camp chose saving the bees.

“There were times it was hard because there were so many girls and lots of ideas, but we worked together, and it was fun,” said 11-year-old Imani, one of the girls who participated in the project. “We found a way to come to a compromise and work together to make a fun bee hotel so the bees can fit their fuzzy little buns in.”

Working with bees can be a daunting task for kids around Imani’s age. Many children are afraid of bees, because they only know them from the pain of their sting. But Girl Scouts learn to overcome their fears. “I’m afraid of bugs, so it was hard for me to go look at the bees and learn about them,” said Imani. “I’m glad I did. I’m still scared, but I understand how we need bees for food and flowers and that they have a purpose.”

The U.S. has more than 4,000 wild bee species, and 40 percent of them are now facing extinction. The depopulation of bees is due to a number of factors including human activity, pesticide overuse, disease, and the changing climate. 10-21-19

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