Randy Robbins

Special to the Pilot

More than 150 students from Curry County gathered at the Event Center on the Beach recently to learn about the science of pollination and get up close and personal with the bees that make it happen.

Sixth and seventh graders from Driftwood, Azalea Middle and Riley Creek schools enjoyed an interactive field trip hosted by the Oregon Resources Research and Education Center (ORREC). Supporters included Gold Beach Rotary and local Soroptimists clubs, along with the Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Office and the Gold Beach Master Gardiner Program.

“I like the bees best!” said Hazel Houch, 11, who was spellbound by the transparent, glass-encased box of bees just inches from her face.

The hive was a bustling window of wonder for Houch and scores of other children set up by the Oregon South Coast Bee Keepers Association. The bees were oblivious as they crawled over and under each other to serve their queen.

At an adjacent table, students examined dried honeycomb and beeswax.

Meanwhile, other students watched monarch butterflies under protective nets spread their tiger-striped wings and fly around, spreading pollen from flower to flower.

Kathleen Root-Bunten, executive director for the ORREC, was pleased that so many students attended the event.

“Students here today are benefiting from hands-on learning on such subjects as life cycles, plant anatomy, and other pollinators,” she said.

The event, she said, was the first of ORREC’s planned workshops, some of which will focus on agriculture, habitat and bee colony collapse.

“Understanding the link between pollinators and agriculture is critical for securing food sources here and around the world,” she said. “Eco-camp is helping our students get that connection.”

For more information on ORREC’s activities contact Bunton or her assistant, Lily Miller, at 541-425-5488