Charlemont teen awarded for bee-saving project

  • Charlemont resident Rachel Hayes’ “Saving the Bees” project earned her the Girl Scout Silver Award, which she received in a modified ceremony on June 18 at the Northfield Drive-in. Contributed photo

Staff Writer
Published: 7/13/2020 1:20:38 PM

CHARLEMONT — Inspired by a beekeeping project she participated in for several years at Hawlemont Regional School, one local student took her interest in caring for the bee population a step further.

“We learned a lot about the bees … and how they were endangered,” said Rachel Hayes, 14, now a freshman at Franklin County Technical School.

As part of her own effort to protect the local bee population from decline, Hayes came up with the aptly named project, “Saving the Bees,” which involved fixing up and planting a flower garden at the Veterans Mall in Greenfield.

Hayes’ research for the project began at the Warm Colors Apiary in South Deerfield, where she learned more than just the benefits bees have to plants, she said, but how chemicals often used on the plants can harm them.

“If we could find a way to fix that, it would help the bees,” Hayes said simply.

She announced her plans at a local church, sought out flower donations from area shops and received permission to plant a garden in the Veterans Mall.

At the time, Hayes also hoped to enlist the help of her classmates at Franklin Tech, but was unable to when COVID-19 closed schools for the rest of the year.

Hayes’ “Saving the Bees” project earned her the Girl Scout Silver Award, which she received in a modified ceremony on June 18 at the Northfield Drive-in. Water and popcorn were served, replacing the traditional meal and dessert.

“This is a very significant moment in a Girl Scout’s life, and we didn’t want to forgo an event honoring their achievements,” said Pattie Hallberg, CEO of Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts.

With the Silver Award behind her, Hayes — whose family also planted a garden and bought a beehive — said she has her sights set on earning the Girl Scout Gold Award with a project she hopes will be on the subject of racism.

Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 263. Twitter: @MaryEByrne


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