Independent Study Buzzes Morning Ex

Junior William Holtz recently orchestrated a Morning Ex to share what he has learned this past semester and last summer while engaged in an independent study focusing on honeybees and beekeeping.
Adorned in a beekeeper suit from the waist down, Holtz opened his presentation explaining how he developed an interest in bees in the first place—a trip down the YouTube “rabbit hole.” Thinking a black widow spider bit him, he began investigating online videos about spider bites, what to look for and how to treat them. He was distracted by suggested videos about bees. Admittedly, Holtz was originally not a fan of these winged, stinging insects, so when he saw videos featuring people fearlessly engaging with them with no protective gear or even a shirt on—he felt compelled to learn more.
Flash forward to this past summer when Holtz tended to a hive of more than 10,000 bees as he embarked upon a self-directed independent study with Lower School science teacher James Audrain to learn more about beekeeping, the behavior of bees and the effect of bees on agriculture and the ecosystem.
As part of this Morning Ex, Holtz described the various characteristics of honeybees and the roles of the queen, drones and workers in a conventional beehive. He spoke to the lifecycle of bees and described how they propagate within a hive. Holtz’s presentation also touched on the anatomy of bees and their unique behaviors, including the fact that bees “dance” to communicate and are capable of working together to regulate the temperature and humidity of their hive. Holtz also spoke to the important role that honeybees play as pollinators in our ecosystem, including the changes toa typical breakfast if bees did not exist to pollinate many flowers, alfalfa, fruits and vegetables. Three of Holtz’s friends appeared on stage in costume as flowers and a bee to demonstrate the pollination process from one plant to another.
Holtz fielded a range of questions from teachers and students following his presentation, and all left the assembly with a better appreciation of bees. 

Click here to share in an essay Holtz penned as part of this independent study, entitled The United States and Its Dependence on the Western Honeybee
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.