Archive

ShareThis Page
Propel Andrew Street High School honored for beekeeping class | TribLIVE.com
News

Propel Andrew Street High School honored for beekeeping class

Tribune-Review
| Tuesday, March 19, 2013 9:09 p.m
PTRAWARD3032013
James Knox | Tribune-Review
Senior Ian Snyder from Propel Andrew Street High School's beekeeping program examines the hive on Tuesday March 19, 2013, at the school's beehives in Braddock.
PTRAWARD5032013
James Knox | Tribune-Review
Students in the Propel Andrew Street High School's beekeeping program bottle honey and make lip balm from the wax and honey they harvest from bees at the school's beehives in Braddock. The honey sells for $4 o $7 a jar.
PTRAWARD1032013
James Knox | Tribune-Review
Participants of Propel Andrew Street High School's beekeeping program include (from left to right) Ian Snyder, Marqees Forrest and Kendan Jones on Tuesday, March 19, 2013. The DEP has awarded the school's beekeeping program with the 2013 Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence. It was the only school in the state to receive the award.
PTRAWARD7032013
James Knox | Tribune-Review
Marqees Forrest from Propel Andrew Street High School's beekeeping program examines a bee held by fellow senior Kendan Jones as the two work on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, at the school's beehives in Braddock. The DEP has awarded the school's beekeeping program with the 2013 Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence. It was the only school in the state to receive the award.
PTRAWARD4032013
James Knox | Tribune-Review
Students from Propel Andrew Street High School's beekeeping program work on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, at the school's beehives in Braddock. The school was the only one in the state to receive the DEP's 2013 Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence.
dnPTRAWARD6032013
James Knox | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Senior Kendan Jones of Propel Andrew Street High School participates in its beekeeping program on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, at the school's beehives in Braddock. The school was the only one in the state to receive the DEP's 2013 Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence.

The bee business is booming at Propel Andrew Street High School, and the state has taken notice.

The Munhall school, part of a charter school chain in the Mon Valley, won a 2013 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence for its beekeeping class. Other local winners were the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, RiverQuest and UPMC.

“I felt like what we’re doing was pretty unique, and it’s nice to get some acknowledgement for that,” said Brandon Keat, who teaches the elective class in addition to English. “These are not kids who grew up on farms. For some of them it involved overcoming a certain fear. It’s pretty awesome that these kids are willing to face that.”

The beekeeping class has 11 students and incorporates biology, entrepreneurship and community service. The students alternate from the classroom to their apiary at a former convent in Braddock, where the four hives reside.

Keat began the program as a club about four years ago in response to a student’s interest.

“Students I have who may not be interested in English come here, and they’ve got tens of thousands of bees around them, and all of a sudden they’re not the same kind of student,” he said.

Students learn about the key role bees play in pollinating plants, including food-producing ones, and the threats bees face from things such as pesticides. Propel does not use pesticides around its hives.

The students check on the health of the hives and sometimes feed the bees by mixing sugar water in a bucket on the top of the hives.

On Tuesday, the class made a surprising discovery. All the bees in one hive were dead, possibly from cold weather or other environmental stresses, Keat said.

Using the brand name Asenath, a minor biblical character who had a run-in with bees, the students bottle honey and make lip balm from the wax and honey. The honey sells for $4 to $7 a jar. Student beekeepers get complimentary honey. So far, the program has made $2,000, with plans to add one or two hives.

Keat describes a hive as a “ruthless matriarchy” where the queen is the only fully developed bee. He relayed what one student told him: “A hive is one old lady ordering around a bunch of 10-year-old girls.”

Kendan Jones, 17, a sophomore from the South Side, called the class fun and tasty.

“It’s like you’re raising thousands of children,” he said. “It’s a good experience to learn how to keep something so small out of harm’s way.”

Propel is the only school in the state to win the award this year. UPMC won the award for the creation of an Energy and Environmental Engineering Department; RiverQuest won for its Marcellus shale outreach program; and the conservancy won for a watershed restoration project in Elk County.

A dinner in Harrisburg is planned for April 17 to honor the winners.

Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or bzlatos@tribweb.com.

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.