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Students get lesson on honeybees
Children tasted different kinds of honey
Allison Tehonci, left, and Isaac Jones get a close-up look at a honeycomb in a frame from a beehive. - photo by Tom Reed

On Wednesday afternoon, the children in the gardening club at the Gainesville Exploration Academy learned all about the honeybee.

In her second year as the head of the club, Amanda Castaneda led the kids through a tutorial on how honeybees make honey and the benefits they bring to the environment, such as pollination. The honeybees for the lesson weren’t alive.

According to Castaneda, it’s not just the honeybee tutorial, but the gardening club in general has been able to bring new experiences to the children.

“We try to just open them up to stuff they’ve never seen and never tried,” she said.

“Some of them have had grandparents who have a garden, but they’ve never done it themselves. Some of the kids had never even held a worm until (joining the club). It’s not necessarily always about planting, like today about the bees.”

Castaneda also said she has the kids try something new before every lesson. It mainly involves a new food or snack.
On Wednesday, the children tried eight different types of honey.

“They don’t have to like everything, but they do have to try everything,” said Castaneda.

Some of the kids tried a on beekeeper’s suit, which helps to protect a person from bee stings. One of the children who was able to try on the suit was 8-year-old Shayna Zilemba.

“It made me happy,” said Zilemba of being able to try on the suit. She also said she got into the gardening club because of being able to touch bugs, like the dead bees on Wednesday.

Also part of the group who are able to benefit from the gardening club are the Boys Girls Clubs.

“Amanda’s done an amazing job,” said Jesse Mendoza, site coordinator for the Boys & Girls Clubs. “(The gardening club) gives the kids a chance to be involved in activities outside of school.”

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