Bees preparing for winter, students check-in on the colony’s health

On Wednesday the AP met with their bee mentor, Walt, to perform a mite check. In lessons and seminars, students have been learning about the challenges that colonies are facing around the world. What better place than our very own hive to further investigate some of these issues. In a sample of 323 bees, the students encountered 8 aptly-named Varroa destructor mites. Eight mites do not sound like an excessive amount, but our hive is occupied by at least 40,000 bees! When we apply our measured mite density to the entire hive, we end up with nearly 1,000 mites present in the population. Luckily, the mite load in the hive is below the threshold considered to be alarming, but treating for mites before winter not only helps our bees but ALL bees in the area by reducing the spread of the pest. The mites are about the size of a sesame seed and they are a vector for several infectious diseases that can wipe out an entire colony. For a bee, it would be like having a dinner plate-sized parasite attached to your back or stomach while you also have the flu.

 

Fall Trip Memories

The Adolescents spent the last week of September on a Mad Dog excursion through Southern Illinois. It was a great opportunity for the group to spend time deepening their relationship with each other, and in turn, forming a community in which risk-taking is encouraged and problems are solved with vigor. Through a deep understanding of each other, we can share in each other’s joys and triumphs, as well as support each other when times get tough. There were certainly challenging moments on the trip, but the adolescents met each challenge with positivity and smiles.

If you would like to read more about how risk-taking in nature improves executive functioning skills in children of all ages, check out this article from The Children and Nature Network.

Enjoy this glimpse into the trip.

 

 

Water Quality Monitoring at the Land Campus

Twice a year, the students meet with our Stream Team Volunteer Bob Virag to monitor a section of the Bonhomme Creek which is located on the CMS Land Campus. We run multiple tests on the creek in order to determine the quality of the water. Today, our creek received a good score. Two thumbs up. We were down a few crane fly larvae and leeches but overall, the creek is healthy and flowing with life. Bob even said our creek “is one of the nicest creeks in the county. It’s like being in the Ozarks.” Thanks, Bob! We love working with you to improve the quality of our Missouri waters!

Best in Show!

Congratulations to Kaylee for receiving Best in Show at the CMS Iris Show! And Thank you to Erin Chien and Jean Morris who led the design workshop for our students and coordinated the show. This year was our largest group of student participants and many families and community members joined us. Here are a few photos from the event:

 

 

 

Hello, May!

The AP is ending the school year strong. We are busy with events, assignments, trimester projects, and micro-economy sales. Last week, the students hosted the 6th annual CMS Talent Show. What a success! What a talented bunch of kids! Thank you to all who participated and came to this special evening at CMS.
This week the students crafted windchimes and tables for their final Market Day. The AP finance manager reported a record year in sales for the AP INC., and returning students have already begun brainstorming ideas for next year’s products. We all agree the Land Campus has been our number 1 resource for crafting beautifully handmade products.
The class also participated in a Middle School United Nations General Assembly this week, along with students from Crossroads College Prep and Wydown Middle. The following issues were discussed: slavery in Mauritania, drug addiction in Honduras, Russian aggression in Ukraine, Uighur violence in China, and sustainable development in Africa. The group did an excellent job of participating and responding to resolutions. Way to represent! 
Next week the class will host the Annual CMS Iris Show to be held in the CMS gym on Wednesday, May 8 from noon to 3:00 pm. This year’s theme is Elemental Irises (Fire, Water, Earth, Air). The Artistic Design class will be on Tuesday, May 7 at 12:30 PM.
We will also be planting 1,200 plants as part of our habitat restoration project next week! More photos to come! We will keep you posted along the way. Have a great weekend.

Happy Busy Bees

The AP bee colony is happy, healthy, and buzzing with activity. The queen is thriving, fat, and happy. She has been working her way through the hive, laying eggs in every frame that is not occupied by pollen, brood, honey, or nectar. The students met with their bee mentor yesterday to check on the hive. On each frame, there are about 2,000 bees! Good news, considering the colony spent a good part of the fall recovering from the loss of their queen. Next week, we will check for swarm cells, look for the presence of Varroa destructor mites and begin planning for a second hive. It’s still a little early to say that we will have an excess of honey this fall, but it sure is reassuring to see such abundance before the nectar flow in a few weeks.