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Do you like chocolate? You can thank a fly for that. That's right, flies pollinate cocoa trees! It's National Pollinators Week and we are using this time to thank our buzzing friends while learning more about their fascinating world! Bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, flies, bats and even lemurs are all pollinators. Pollinators are responsible for 1 out of every 3 bites of food we take. Our food system is reliant on them but with the overuse of pesticides and loss of habitat, our friends are in trouble. This week, we will be sharing more information about pollinators and how we can help turn this crisis around. Follow along on social media. #pollinatorweek
Beekeeper Spotlight:
Pat Morrissey
How and when did you get into beekeeping? 

In early 2011, my companion Walther had a neighbor Bill who kept bees in town. One afternoon, Bill asked me if I’d like to keep bees and if so, he’d mentor me. I said yes and I fell in love with beekeeping.

What’s something surprising about bees that most people don’t know? 

Bee colonies are a community and every bee has a job. There are nurse bees who take care of the brood and undertakers who remove dead bees from the colony. Construction worker bees that use propolis to seal up cracks, rebuild damaged comb and make comb cells for the Queen to lay eggs. Scout bees that look for new places to live or to let the forgers know where there is a plentiful supply of nectar and pollen.

When the young bees hatch out of their cells they clean up their cells so that the queen can come through and lay eggs. An image of children waking in the morning and making their beds comes to mind. There are cooks and house keepers and guard bees too. All of these positions are held by females. The Drones (males) are also in the colony though their numbers are quite a bit less than the females.  Even though they don’t work they are a very important part of the hive and mating process.

What’s a common misconception about bees and or beekeeping? 

When I first started doing the bee presentations most of the children were afraid of bees and being stung. A fellow beekeeper and I wanted to dispel that fear while making sure the kids remained cautious. We started out by showing the children hand drawn pictures of the many pollinators that exist including butterflies and hummingbirds. We talked about the importance of all pollinators, even those pesky yellow jackets. We discussed what not to do. Don't stand in front of a hive or swat at bees. We explained that the bees may fly close by because they are curious or speed past us on a path heading back to their colony with pollen or nectar.

What can an individual do to help the local bee population thrive? 
  • Plant for all pollinators. Pollinators like volume of many plants so if you plant sage or ceanothus then plant in multiples, not just one or two.
  • Please also put out a bowl of water with corks or large flat rocks and keep the bowl filled with water leaving the rocks barely covered for them to stand on so they won’t drown.
  • Keep weeds with flowers in your yard or lawn. Now more than any other time has it been acceptable to leave weeds that flower in one’s yard, so go for it.

What is your favorite thing or memory about beekeeping?

Watching the transformation of school children over the course of 3 years embrace pollinators because of a special (now retired) elementary school teacher. That teacher embraced project-based education and hands-on learning. They tied pollinators into many different concepts including teamwork, organization, math, art and science. 
Pat has managed the bees at the San Mateo County School Farm operated by The HEAL Project for several years. She also teaches the kids about bees at Hatch Elementary on our annual Bee Day (pictured above)! Thank you, Pat, for your dedication to protecting our pollinators and educating others about their importance. We and the bees appreciate you! 

Theory of Change 

The HEAL Project’s Theory of Change describes our philosophy and defines the long-term impact of our work, providing a blueprint for the changes that occur through our programs. THP’s Theory of Change was developed in 2018 and finalized in 2019 thanks to generous funding from the Sand Hill Foundation.
View on our website HERE. 
Thank you to our wonderful volunteers for harvesting and processing so much garlic at our last Community Farm Day!

Community Farm Days run from 9 to noon on the second Saturday of the month during Farmers' Market season (April - December) and are open to volunteers ages 10 and over. RSVP and join us on our next Community Farm Day on Saturday, July 13. Sign up below!
RSVP here!
Summer Camp kicked off this week! We're off to a great start with bike blender smoothies and snail races. Looking forward to six more weeks of making memories!
June Book Recommendation 

The Bee-Friendly Garden: Designing a Beautiful, Flower-Filled Landscape for the World's Most Prolific Pollinator by Kate Frey,  Gretchen LeBuhn

For every gardener who cares about the planet, this guide to designing a bee garden helps you create a stunningly colorful, vibrant, healthy habitat that attracts both honeybees and native bees. In The Bee-Friendly Garden, award-winning garden designer Kate Frey and bee expert Gretchen LeBuhn provide everything you need to know to create a dazzling garden that helps both the threatened honeybee and our own native bees.  Learn more..

Strawberry Dole Whip

Prep time: 15 min
Yields 2 servings

Photo and recipe adapted from
Dashing Dish

Did you know?

Strawberries are sweet and delicious, but also jam packed with vitamins, minerals fiber and high levels of antioxidants. Eating strawberries can help improve your good cholesterol, lower your blood pressure and protect you against cancer. Strawberries contain potassium, manganese, vitamin C and fiber.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of strawberries, sliced

  • ½ cup milk of choice

  • 1-2 tbs of sugar

  • 1 tbs lemon juice

  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Place strawberries in freezer overnight so that they can be cold enough to blend and maintain an frozen consistency

  2. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth

  3. Scoop into a plastic bag and freeze for about 10 minutes

  4. Cut a hole in the corner of the bag and squeeze while swirling dole whip into a small bowl or cup. Enjoy!

Riddle of the Month

What is more impressive than a talking dog?
Show Answer!
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