Enjoy this throwback article from the last Wannabees meeting, held pre-pandemic in March 2020!
At our March meeting, the Wannabees Family Club of the BYBA met at the EarthPlace Nature Center in Westport. It was a slightly chilly, but beautiful, still-winter-looking day. What’s a hungry bee to do?
We looked at some photographs of early sources of forage for our local bees and talked about what’s happening in the hive at this time of year. We headed out the door on our adventure, pretending that we were hungry bees looking for forage.
Before we even left the classroom, Mr. Michael pointed outside. Bright bunches of yellow Witch Hazel were all over the tree out the window! Then, as we walked out the front door of the nature center, we were met with a few colors of crocus flowers starting to bloom and Snowdrops. We didn’t have to look far at all!
The EarthPlace has a number of really nicely-maintained trails on their property to choose from. We knew from our talk that Skunk Cabbage was an important source of really early forage for our bees and we knew it grows in swampy areas. So, the Swamp Path was our trail of choice.
About half-way around the trail, we found a really swampy part of land next to the river and started our search. (We also played in the mud! Good thing we were warned to wear boots!)
We looked and looked without luck and then we realized the Skunk Cabbage was actually EVERYWHERE! At this time of year, the blossoms were the only part showing and they are well-camouflaged to their environment. Once we found one, we suddenly saw lots of them. The green leaves were only starting to poke out on some of them. It’s a very unusual-looking flower. We found a broken blossom and took a whiff. We now know for sure where it got its name. Ick!
We had fun on the rest of the walk too. We remembered to look up where we saw Maple and Elm starting to bloom. We also stopped at the pond to look for snapping turtles and frogs. The hike ended at the playground. A pretty great day to be a kid pretending to be a bee!
If you’d like to learn more, check out these links: