Did you know that there is only one type of plant that can host the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly? The Pawpaw produces fruits with a mild tropical flavor that some liken to a combination of pineapple, bananas and mangoes and is the only tree that feeds the growing caterpillars. Equally interesting is the fact that these trees are not pollinated by the butterflies, but have flowers that are dark red and scented slightly like rotting meat to attract carrion flies and beetles. Our bees want nothing to do with them!
On our last few SPROUT field trips we have been privileged to see both the striking Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly hovering around the blooming Pawpaw trees and plenty of Honey Bees buzzing around the rest of garden!
During both pollination-themed visits, bee-keeper Sean helped us open our newly returned bee boxes and taught us lots about bees and their lifestyles. One of our favorite facts is that bees use their wings to fan the collected nectar, speeding the evaporation process that creates what we know as honey.
Students loved both observing and tasting fresh honey combs. It was experiential learning at its finest!