img_8662Many individuals in the Mount Vernon community are experts in their respective fields and industries. We refer to them as Experts in Residence. Across divisions, these individuals are invited to share their knowledge, experience and skills with our students, as it relates to their specific units of study.

Once such Expert in Residence happens to be in third grade. Ashlyn Beard (Class of 2026) is a beekeeper. She and her father, Bryan Beard, were invited to speak to the second grade about bees, as they are currently studying natural habitats.

As a family, the Beards have been harvesting honey from honeybees in their own backyard and at Ashlyn’s grandparents’ farm, as well.

As soon as Ashlyn put on her beekeeper’s suit, she shared all of the details of building, raising, nurturing bees and harvesting their honey.

She shared that the bees are endangered, and how students can help them, including: planting flowers, refraining from spraying mosquito repellant in their yard, and writing the government requesting more regulation of certain pesticides.

Second graders asked many questions about the hive and how it is created, as they passed around a retired frame. Ashlyn followed up by telling them about the frames, which fit inside the hive boxes, and how the worker bees build up the honeycomb, that the queen bee can lay up to 2,000 eggs per day, and the job of some worker bees is to take care of the babies (brood). One student asked why the bee suits are white. Ashlyn responded that white is much less threatening. If the suits were dark, the bees would think it was their natural predator — a bear.

Now, as Ashlyn walks through the halls, she is a confirmed expert as she is the go-to for questions about bees, honey, nature, and habitats.

She says she learned more herself, by teaching others about her passion. The experience made her “feel special”. img_8634 img_8628 img_8622

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