Honey bees pollinate more than 100 types of crops in the U.S., help maintain the diversity of plant life and ultimately, play a crucial role in our ecosystem — yet their population is dwindling. Because the future of food depends on healthy pollinators, it’s time for everyone — even the kids! — to make honey bees a priority.

During National Pollinator Month in June, the #GiveBeesAChance campaign aims to raise enough funds to provide 50 new beehives to schools and nonprofits across the U.S. and Canada. That would directly affect 25,000 kids!

Learn how your family also can support pollinators at home and how you can help kids understand the value of bees to our food system.

Q: Why Are Bees Important?

Honey bees are vital to our supply of healthy foods. Honey bees are pollinators, which means they travel from plant to plant to collect and deposit pollen – which makes it possible for many flowers, fruits and vegetables to reproduce. Bees also pollinate the clover and alfalfa that cows eat. In fact, one in every three bites of food you eat depends on pollination, either directly or indirectly. So, if these hardworking bees and other pollinators disappear, many of our favorite foods like apples, almonds, strawberries and tomatoes will be greatly affected.

Q: Why Are Bee Populations Declining?

A: There has been a noticeable and steady decline in the bee population, which scientists and beekeepers believe may be caused by a combination of factors, including parasites, loss of habitat and increased exposure to pesticides and insecticides. Although the problem is complex, it’s not too late to help preserve pollinators (and secure the future of food).

Q: How Can We Protect Pollinators at Home?

A: Here are six simple ways you can help in and around your own home.

  1. Go organic. The use of toxic pesticides and herbicides can harm pollinators and destroy their natural habitats. Choose organic foods for your table and organic seeds and seedlings for your garden.
  2. Skip the spray. Care for your lawn and garden organically and explore alternatives like incorporating plants that attract beneficial insects for pest control.
  3. Fill your yard with native plants. Cultivate a landscape with diverse colors, shapes, sizes and bloom times. Expect visiting pollinators like bees, butterflies and birds.
  4. Help pollinators beat the heat. Set up a shallow bowl of water with pebble “islands” for bees to perch on while they drink.
  5. Buy local honey. Buying local honey supports a thriving local bee ecology, which means that more food can be grown locally.
  6. Get kids buzzing. Spark kids’ curiosity and awareness of pollinators’ importance through family-friendly pollinator activities on our website including coloring sheets and projects. Check out crafts like building a pollinator puppet or bee colony, reading guides with follow-up activities, recipes (honey-nut pears!) and more.

Q. How Can We Engage Our Communities?

A: Check out The Bee Grant program, which allows for schools and nonprofit organizations to receive support for educational beehives. Through the grant, children can observe bees up close and learn about the critical role these pollinators play in our food system and ecosystem as a whole.

For this grant, we partnered with The Bee Cause Project, a nonprofit organization that empowers students, teachers and community members to experience the wonder, ingenuity, beauty and power of the honey bee while developing STEAM skills.

To date, The Bee Grant program has provided hives for more than 400 schools, but there are thousands more students waiting for the same opportunity. Donate to the #GivesBeesAChance campaign and help bring educational beehives to more schools, so more kids can learn about the vital role pollinators play in our ecosystem.

Learn more about The Bee Cause Project’s mission to get beehives in schools.