Western Massachusetts will be Buzzing During Bee Weeks!
For humans, to bee or not to bee isn’t truly a question – we must always bee! Bees and other pollinators help to ensure that our crops produce food, and they are a critical part of ecosystems all over the world. Despite their importance, however, pollinator populations are declining worldwide and many native species of bees have already gone extinct. How is it that a species so important to our survival is disappearing? Lack of proper habitat is one of the major factors contributing to bees’ recent struggles, and lack of awareness isn’t helping them either! However, thanks to Piti Theater Company, western Massachusetts will be enjoying a spring filled with bee-related events and learning opportunities – helping to increase pollinator habitat, raise awareness about conserving local pollinator populations, and teaching families about the role of pollinators in our food systems.
During the spring and early summer, Piti Theater Company’s Bee Weeks will take place in four different local communities. Each week will bring a Piti production of To Bee or Not to Bee, a fun and engaging show that gives children a glimpse into a bee-free life and teaches about bees’ recent plight. To Bee or Not to Bee pairs a cautionary tale with clowning, mime, puppetry, music, and audience participation in order to not only teach, but to entertain audience members of all ages.
Piti’s first Bee Week will take place in Amherst from April 19th-27th, 2014. The event will include a screening of the documentary More Than Honey at 7pm on Tuesday, April 22nd at the Jones Library, as well as Bee Smart: Amherst , a panel discussion hosted by UMass’ Stockbridge School of Agriculture from 2-3:30pm on Wednesday, April 23rd. Amherst’s Bee Week culminates with a performance of To Bee or Not to Bee at the Amherst Sustainability Festival. Local families can make their week even more bee-filled by visiting Amherst Books or the Jones Library to peruse displays of bee-related books, or by using Bee Week as a time to plant pollinator gardens at their own homes.
Bee Week comes to the hilltowns during May, filling the hills with bee-friendly events from the May 10th-18th, 2014. Before Bee Week begins, Shelburne Falls will host a bee-themed art walk on Saturday, May 3rd. Other hilltown Bee Week events include a weekend workshop at the Rowe Center titled, “Show Me the Honey: Bees, Hives, and Other Apian Miracles” from May 16th-18th and the BLOOM! Festival held on May 17th at the Benson Place, a sustainably grown blueberry farm in Heath. Hilltown Bee Week also include two performances of To Bee or Not to Bee – one at the BLOOM! Festival (at 1:30pm) and one on May 23rd at Sanderson Academy in Ashfield, featuring local students.
From June 7th-15th, 2014, Bee Week takes on Greenfield and begins with a bee-themed First Night Greenfield on Friday, June 6th. Other local events include A Honey of a Party at the 2nd Congregational Church on June 7th, and a celebration with Just Roots – which includes a performance of To Bee or Not to Bee – on Sunday, June 8th. Additionally, families can visit the Greenfield Public Library during Bee Week, where they’ll find a special collection of bee books to learn from on their own!
Finally, early July brings Bee Week to Springfield, where performances will be paired with a sustainability expo and the unveiling of an exciting new pollinator garden at the Mason Square Library! On July 9th, the Springfield Museums host To Bee or Not to Bee, as well as a sustainability expo featuring local organizations. On July 12th, Piti performs at the Mason Square Library, where the Pollination Festival celebrates the city library branch’s pollinator garden.