I attended the Colorado Pollinator Summit last Thursday, and met with many people who are part of organizations working toward a better tomorrow for pollinators. I spent time in small work groups listening to the wide array of concerns and missions surrounding pollinators. I walked away from the day encouraged to continue working on my mission, which is to educate children on all things related to pollinators.
The following Saturday I brought a pollinator program to the Whole Foods Kids Club (slideshow) at Southglenn Streets. We had a small group, but I felt encouraged to have reached even a small group of individuals.
I do this because I see an opportunity to reach our future voters, leaders, and decision makers. Children hold the key to a much larger potential change. Adult education is important, but I have found that children do an excellent job of educating the adults in their lives, and are uninhibited in their communication on the topics of pollinators, and this can generate change in their own households, which is very powerful.
The challenge we are up against as educators of anything is acculturation. Acculturation is the setting of behaviors and opinions based on how we have been indoctrinated over the course of our lives. This is through school, media, and really any authorities in our lives. We, the adults of society, have been taught to fear insects, and that our world is better without them, and naturally, we teach our children the same. The problem with this thought pattern is it does not consider the fact that insects are crucial to all ecosystems on Earth, and without them we would lose the diversity of species across the planet. It’s easier, and requires less energy and thought, to simply spray pesticides and live without the “pests” in our world, but this isn’t based on truth.
This is where children come in. We must teach them that all things are important to us, and that we should consider how we might affect ecosystems when we remove any particular species. We must give children a sense of understanding, rather than instill fear in them. For example, we have been taught to fear the sting of bees. However, bees are not out flying around looking for someone to sting; they are out collecting the things they need to survive, and stinging is the very last thing they are looking to do, which makes it unlikely to happen.
Bees provide a HUGE portion of resources we depend on, and it should be our priority to teach children to respect that bees fit into a very important larger picture of diversity, and without bees Earth would be in serious trouble.
20,000 species of bees live across the world, and how many do we know of as adults? It’s time we changed this ignorance, through education (acculturation), for ourselves and future generations. The common fear should be one of a world without bees, and this is my goal as an educator of all things related to pollination. I want children to know how pollination works, why it’s important to us, who all the pollinators are, and how we can all make a better world through the protection of pollinators.
I know my work changes lives, and that is precisely why I do it!
Cheers to joining the movement to save our bees, and frankly all pieces in the pollinator circle of life!