Hello Elisabeth Morrow School,
I want to thank you so much for having me as a featured author at your Book Fair & Storytelling Festival! What a wonderful weekend we all had!
On Sunday I led a workshop where we crafted Mason Bee Hotels to help save the bees. Since these Hotels will not need to go outside until the springtime we wanted to invite more children to join us in the crafting this winter!
To get started with the Upcyled Science & Art Project you will just need a few materials:
Paper grocery bags or Kraft paper
String or twine
Empty plastic drink bottle (rinsed
out, completely dry, label removed): An Honest® Tea bottle works well with the ridges, but any other plastic bottle should work. Adults, carefully cut off the top end of the bottle at the shoulder so that there is a nice wide opening. (See picture)
Step 1: Hold your bottle and begin to imagine. What could this bottle look like painted? Can you picture it hanging outside near a flower garden? Inside you have little tubes that are rooms for Mason Bees to safety rest their babies! Your imagination will fuel your creativity!
Step 2: Get your paper grocery. We are going to cut roughly thirty 5 inch by 2 inch strips from the bag. You can guesstimate these measurements.
Step 3: Once you have your strips cut, get your pencil and lay it on a strip with the 5inch length running the length of your pencil. Use the pencil to roll the paper into a tube about the size of the width of the pencil itself. Tape your paper tube and pop it off of the pencil.
Step 4: Fold shut one end of your paper tube. This will help the Mason Bee feel secure in her place of nesting. Only fold one side as she will be building a wall to close up the other side.
Step 5: Place your tube inside your plastic bottle. You want to tube to be slightly shorter than the bottle so that the bottle will keep it dry.
Step: 6 Repeat steps 2-5 until your bottle is filled with tubes. Mason Bees like tubes that are about 5/16ths of an inch wide, but you can vary sizes a bit as other species prefer other sizes.
Step 7: (optional) Use acrylic paint or permanent markers to decorate the outside of your Mason Bee Hotel.
Step 8 : Measure two 24 inch cuts of string, twine, or leather to hang your Mason Bee Hotel. Tie one strip around a ridge at the back of the bottle and then use the remaining section to make a loop for hanging. Repeat this with the other string at a ridge at the front of the bottle. (See Picture)
Step 9: Set a date on your calendar sometime at the end of March to go out and hang your Mason Bee Hotel. Chose a spot where flowers or fruit trees will be growing nearby. You might even want to think about planting your own pollinator garden! It is also helpful to have it near an area where the mason bee can find mud- a garden pond, stream, or sprinkler, it can even be a bucket of water. Face your Mason Bee Hotel toward the morning sun and at least 3ft off of the ground. Then, just be patient and wait and see if any little bee friends come stop by your hotel!
Mason Bees are some of our most reliable pollinators! One Mason Bee can pollinate 2,000 each day! By creating this Bee Hotel for them you are helping to preserve their habitat and giving them a safe place to raise the next generation of bees.
Doing this activity with your children is a beautiful way to explain how one act of kindness can stretch far beyond itself. For more inspiration on how your family can be a friend to the bees please consider purchasing a copy of The Magical Mythical Bees.
Together we can "Bee The Change!"
Author & Illustrator
The Magical Mythical Bees