Bees are known for their quality food and contributions to healthcare but the role the bee plays in agriculture and our ecosystem goes far beyond honey and beeswax. Did you know they are responsible for the pollination of nearly 75% of the plants that produce 90% of the world’s food? Arguably the most important for the long-term sustainability of our population, a third of the world’s food depends on bees. Yet, as of 2020, the number of pollinators in the world is in a drastic decline with nearly 44% of honeybee colonies lost.
Meet 17-year-old Girl Scout Ambassador Brenna Suarez, the founder of Bree’s Bees, a service project centered around the importance of pollinators and the role they play in our ecosystem. The Pandemic required Breanna to reassess the execution of her project resulting in the use of digital resources including Zoom and Social Media. Additionally, she offered convenient and centralized pickup times for supplies so families had an opportunity to subsequently take part within the initiative from the comfort of their own backyards. Bree’s Bees has been received with high praises, including a feature in Latino Conservation Week, Positive People in Pinecrest, and the Beekeeper Confidential Podcast. Awards for the project include a Gold Award and a Silver Knight Nomination for Drama.
Describe Your Project
“Bree’s Bees is a service project centered around the importance of pollinators and our seemingly invisible connection to them and the world around us. It is a holistic curricular plan focused on awareness, research, education, and advocacy. Originally, this strategy was rooted in adopting Girl Scout Troops and classrooms in South Florida to implement hands-on workshops, plant urban pollinator conservation islands, and to develop art advocacy projects with each group. As a result of COVID-19, I pivoted by adopting virtual platforms like Zoom and Instagram to deliver educational workshops to students, teachers, and families alike. I constructed the materials digitally, and I made the art and agricultural supplies available for pick up at a central location. This initiative was collaboratively cultivated from a need I found buried in my community. As the founder of this initiative, reaching out to others to broaden the horizons of our impact was extremely important to the project.”
What are some of your favorite hobbies?
“I love swimming, musical theatre and The Sims 4.”
What gave you the inspiration to approach this topic the way you did?
“I was inspired to do this project after a family trip to a children’s museum in North Carolina. There was an exhibit on a bee’s life cycle using hands-on activities. I thought this was a perfect opportunity to expand the material and teach about pollinators in general.”
What was the biggest challenge you overcame and how?
“The biggest challenge was COVID-19. It postponed the construction of our outdoor learning space at Homestead Airforce School. And while we have not been able to host in-person workshops, it resulted in an opportunity to develop more mindful and comprehensive materials for virtual platforms. This pivot led us to serve, include, and engage with a larger audience while ensuring the integrity of this impactful work.”
Why is this project important to you, personally?
“There are approximately 200,000 unique pollinators responsible for supporting over 180,000 plant species, connected to our nutrition and culture; reinforcing conservation efforts; and supporting human well-being. With all of the current pressing issues in the world, it is easy to dismiss nature, her inhabitants, and our dependence on them both. I decided nature’s workers demanded attention that our community was prepared to give. Pollinators are the Earth’s essential worker, responsible for influencing food, medicine, even global climate change! My efforts with Bree’s Bees attempted to establish current and secure future relationships between pollinators and humans.”
How does this project contribute to your goals for the future?
“It contributes to my future goals of wanting to engage in continual environmental advocacy.”
What did you learn about your community in this process?
“I learned about an entire new community- pollinators. I am proud to learn new things every day about this community. I've also learned that there are a lot of people who are active in this community that want to help just like me.”
What did you learn about YOURSELF?
I learned I am a good public speaker and able to not only create, but initiate ideas.
“Girl Scouts has made me a leader.”
“This initiative was cultivated from a need I found buried in my community.”