Second grade teacher and beekeeper Joel Eckel taught Penn Charter students that bees need pollen, nectar, tree sap and water to survive.

by Rebecca Luzi

Penn Charter Lower School students celebrated Earth Day on Friday, April 20 with a series of stewardship-themed workshops, a video on sustainability, field trips to local farms and art projects made from recyclables.

In small groups, the students visited workshops on gardening, composting and beekeeping. They also learned about caring for free-range chickens and eggs. With gloves and spades, they planted carrots, lettuce, radishes, turnips, beans, peas and more in garden boxes. They learned how to make compost bins, which the kindergarten will use for their annual worm sale.

Second grade teacher Joel Eckel, who is also a beekeeper, taught students about his hives, which he keeps on the school’s Strawbridge property.

“Bees are all about getting the job done,“ he said. “They’re very efficient.”

In an art workshop, students created art out of aluminum cans, construction paper, gems, feathers and glue.

“They transform [the items] into pieces of art that are useful,” explained art teacher Karen Riedlmeier.

“I might use mine for, like, pencils,” said fifth grader Gabriella Petrone. Another student had a Mother’s Day gift in mind.

In addition to the workshops, many classes visited either Weaver’s Way Farm or Wyck, a National Historic Landmark house, garden and farm in Germantown.

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