Grown Here at Home: Outreach program helps youth get past fear of bees
BLUE RIDGE, Va. (WDBJ) - Vasilia McCrady loves to be outside with her honeybees. As the owner of Heritage Apiary in Blue Ridge, she’s a passionate bee advocate. Two years ago, her daughter inspired her to take her mission a step further by starting an outreach program.
“My four-year-old asked for a bee suit, and that’s where it all started. [The program gets] bees together with younger generations to spark that fire of maybe wanting to be a beekeeper or learn more about how they don’t want to hurt you, and they’re just around doing their jobs,” she explained.
Vasilia uses an observation hive so they can safely see all that goes on inside a beehive. She says it’s been great helping kids get past their fears.
“I like to get on their level and let them know that those bees that are on the flowers or looking at that water source, are little girls. All of them are little girls, and all they want to do is fly back to their mom. They don’t want to sting you, because if they sting you, they die,” Vasilia said.
She also gives tours of her apiary.
“I invite families or small groups to come in, suit up, and ‘hive dive,’ as they say. I pull frames out. They all get to hold a frame of bees. So, they feel the power. They get to see them working,” she explained.
Vasilia says it’s been fun teaching people all she knows about bees.
“I go to schools, libraries, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, clubs, co-ops. Anyone who’s interested in learning about the bees, I’d like to come out,” she said.
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