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Ravenna students win $100K grant to build a beehive of the future

Ravenna High School was 1 of 5 schools across the country chosen for the grant
Posted at 5:16 PM, Dec 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-31 17:45:29-05

RAVENNA, Mich. — Students at Ravenna High School are excited to soon begin the process of installing an automated beehive behind the school after winning a $100,000 grant from the US Department of Education.

Students and Agri-science teacher Melanie Block pitched a project about creating and maintaining an automated beehive, that would allow students to both monitor and manipulate conditions within from a web application.

“There are multiple cameras, which essentially are like small GoPros, inside the hive, so that you can get different views of the hive from the inside," Teacher Melanie Block said Thursday.

“And we have trackers that we will attach to the bees, so we can see how far out the bees travel and come back. Because 1 of the problems with 'colony collapse' is that they lose their homing instinct. So they go out of the hive, they get confused, and then they can't find their way home.”

Ravenna is 1 of just 5 schools across the United States to win the $100,000 rural tech grant.

“When we found out we won $100,000, it was crazy. None of us knew what to do, none of us knew what to say. It was unbelievable,” said senior Olivia Woodring.

The 'BEEWISE' beehive that they will be purchasing and installing behind the school will not only allow Ravenna students a first-hand perspective into a bee colony, but students from across the country will also be able to access the internal cameras and data they collect.

“As we go through this, we're probably going to make some mistakes. But we are going to succeed in the end because we're going to keep trying,” Block said.

They will begin the process of budgeting, and ordering parts for the project in January. They will work on the projects for 2 years in an implementation stage.

After that 2-year-period, the projects from all 5 schools will be evaluated, and 1 of them will then win an additional $100,000.

Students with the school's FFA program are beyond excited to get the project off the ground. After the bees start to actually produce honey, the students will design and create actual products with it.

“To have a teacher like Mrs. Block and a program like we have at Ravenna, there aren’t words for it, because it changes your life in ways you would never expect,” said Senior Kaia Cooper.