Spring 2024

Photos Courtesy GVSU Photographer Kendra Stanley Mills

Dr.  Buday teaches the stream team how to read the stream height gauge. 

Wesley & Consti work to put the gauge in the stream, so we can measure the height of the water. 

Larkin & Dr. Buday work on taking a recording of the stream data for our sucker monitoring project. 

Kendall works to install the signage.

The sign we installed to help others collect data for our sucker monitoring project

The stream team observing the installation of our sucker monitoring project.

January 2024

Olivia, Larkin & Gabrielle took 2nd place and qualified for regionals with their Ag Issues presentation on Rural Mental Health.

Samantha took 4th place with her prepared speech about "Overcoming the obstacles of female participation in hunting."

Consti participated in Job Interview, taking 2nd place, and qualifying for regionals. Consti is an exchange student from Germany!

November-December 2023

Meet the entire Ravenna FFA Chapter for 2023-24! Many thanks to all of the donors who paid for these shirts for each of our chapter members. We will use the shirts for contests and conventions that we attend.  We also spent time filling out award applications for FFA over the past two months. We applied for proficiency awards, outstanding junior awards, state FFA degrees, and State Star awards. Congratulations goes out to Stream Team member Larkin for being chosen as a star finalist in Agriscience Research! Larkin will go to Lansing in January to interview for the Star award, and we will find out the final results at the State FFA Convention.

October 2023

We had the opportunity to view one of our largest local agribusinesses, Swanson Pickle Company, thanks to Katie Swanson-Hensley. Swanson Pickle Company is a longtime supporter of the Ravenna FFA Chapter and has contributed to our research project by helping us purchase waders for all of our student scientists. We appreciate your continued support and the opportunity to learn about your business!

September 2023

We have begun our fall steam testing. Ben & Sarah from the Ottawa Conservation District came out to teach us how to do a full site health evaluation.  We also learned how to conduct E. Coli tests from Lexi, a scientist with AWRI/GVSU.  The data that we are collecting is for educational purposes only and any indication of pollution would need to be further investigated by a professional scientist.  As high school students, we are learning by doing!

Kendall, Wes & Sam

The whole group

Learning from Ottawa CSD!

Olivia & Larkin

March 2023

We had a great March! We participated in a public meeting at the Ravenna Conservation Club with Grand Valley State University and the Ottawa Conservation District, to present our research regarding Crockery Creek.  We are very thankful to all the local people who attended and gave us feedback on our research.  We have some new sites to test thanks to some of the people who attended. We were also able to purchase our very own dipnets and waders thanks to a donation from Swanson Pickle Company! We appreciate your continued support!

We have begun our spring testing. Ben & Sarah from the Ottawa Conservation District came out to teach us how to do a full site health evaluation.  We learned a lot of new tricks for testing and how to identify even more macroinvertebrates with the help of a new app.  

Soon our bees will be back in action! It is warming up here in Michigan *finally* and we hope to assess the health of our hives after spring break and we will give you an update here!

February 2023

February is off to a busy start.  We recently sent a large order to National FFA! Thank you for your continued support of our project.  We also participated in the career development events held at Montague High School.  Nearly everyone in our class competed, some for the first time! We also restocked Jennifer Ann's Boutique with more fresh products. Come down to visit her shop and check out some of our new products! We are very proud of them. We have also updated our price and offerings list. 

January 2023

It's 2023! We have had a busy start to our second semester. We have been moving into a new classroom and lab space. We also have a brand-new greenhouse under construction. We recently received a grant from the Sand County Foundation to create a pollinator garden for our bees! We started our native seeds and will be growing a variety of seeds in our greenhouse to plant. We are very excited about this opportunity. 

December 2022

Thank you to everyone who bought our products at Jennifer Ann's Boutique! We are happy to have helped you fulfill your holiday shopping needs. We would also like to thank FOX 17  and Mr. Michael Martin for highlighting our project! You can check out the story here! Building a Bee Business

November 2022

We have completely restocked Jennifer Ann's Boutique! Stop in and see all the awesome things she has, and pick up your Bulldog Buzz products while you're there.  Be sure to get out and check out all of your local Ravenna businesses on Small Business Saturday, coming up on November 26, 2022. 

Peyton & Olivia are serving as regional officers this year!

Kylee working on stream testing, doing identification.

This is our new greenhouse!! We are so excited to have our bees pollinate a garden outside this beauty next summer!

Look at all those members of the bee team on the homecoming court!

October 2022

This month, we have been working on our Crockery Creek Speaks project.  We would like to thank the Ravenna Community Education Foundation for the grant, which we used to purchase some of our waders! We are excited to be learning how to run the tests on the different types of water quality samples from Dr. Amanda Buday, from Grand Valley State University.

Olivia & Nate go out for their first testing mission!

Dr. Buday works with Peyton & Elijah to identify testing sites.

The first time we got to try on the waders! Thank you, RCEF!

Proving the waders are waterproof :)

September 2022

We have been off to a fast start of our school year! We have been harvesting honey and checking on our hives. We had to keep our hives off campus this summer, because of the construction taking place at our school. We lost two hives this summer, but we also gained three more hives by catching stray hives.  We have also been working on creating some new products from our honey, including a furniture polish and paw balm for our 4-legged friends. Be sure to check these out in our store tab, or locally at Jennifer Ann's Boutique in downtown Ravenna.

We have also been invited to take part in a very exciting project! Grand Valley State University has invited us to be a part of the "Crockery Creek Speaks" project with them. We are collecting data from the creek, and running tests to determine the e. Coli content, dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, nitrates, phosphates and more.

Wesley taking product photos

Harvesting & jarring honey

Learning about stream management from the Ottawa CD.

Learning how to identify macroinvertebrates from GVSU professors.

Summer 2022

It has been a busy summer for all of us at the Bulldog Buzz! We participated in the Summer Dog Daze event, where we sold our honey products and tickets to win a John Deere Gator.  We still have both of these items if you are interested! The students have done an amazing job of taking full lead, even in the summer, in creating products and caring for hives. We have learned a lot about swarming, capturing hives, and managing our business.

This past week, we had a Bulldog Buzz "OG," Olivia, come in to help package products to restock our supply at Jennifer Ann's Boutique in Downtown Ravenna.  We have fully restocked the Boutique, so you can stop in and see all the awesome things she has, while you pick up your Bulldog Buzz products!

Soon school will start and we will welcome new members to our team! We are looking forward to our new school year!

Watch as Peyton & Wesley attempt to capture a wild bee hive! They created the queen catcher with help from science teacher Mr. McFarren on our 3D printer, after they were contacted to rescue the hive from a tree in our community.

June 2022 - Goodbye 2021-22 School year!

June has begun! We completed our school year on June 4, and got right to start on our summer projects. Our bees are living off-campus this summer, due to a construction project at our high school. Peyton has 2 hives, Wesley has a hive, Mckenna & Emma have 2 hives and Kylee has a hive. We think it will be interesting to see how the honey turns out being at different locations. We all live within 5 miles of the school, so it won't be too far for us to check in on each other!

We have also restocked at Jennifer Ann's Boutique! Stop in and see all the awesome things she has, and pick up your Bulldog Buzz products while you're there!

Another project that many members of our group have been working on is the landscaping at Mr. Rusty Erickson's house.  Rusty is a valued community member who is probably the biggest Bulldog fan of all time! Rusty had a cancerous brain tumor as a child and was told by his doctors he wouldn't survive. But here he is, surviving into his forties! He recently lost his mother, and his house and yard needed some major work. We are excited to be able to contribute to this project for one person who truly "Bleeds Blue."  

Month of May 2022 - Farewell to our Seniors!

Becca Straley will be attending Grand Valley State University to become a school counselor. She is interested in joining the GVSU Cheer team and will continue to coach young cheerleaders.

Emily Linck will be attending Grand Valley State University and trying to decide what to do with her life. If you have any ideas, please tell her :) She is interested in both business and marketing following her experience with the Bulldog Buzz. 

Mckenna Morton will be attending Michigan State University to become an agriscience teacher and FFA Advisor! She will also be serving as the Michigan FFA State Treasurer.

Month of April 2022

We have been working on learning about the Internet of Things - also known as IOT. We have learned how to build a device that can detect temperature and humidity. For most of us, this was our first experience dealing with coding. Calvin and Peyton had done some coding in the past, and they were able to help the rest of us work our way through the devices. We learned how to use the devices to collect data on an app called Particle. It was able to send us data from the devices to help us know what the conditions were even when we weren't near the device. This would be a useful application for agriculture because farmers could remotely monitor the conditions of fields (or hives) even when they aren't at the actual location. One issue we see with this particular device is that the battery doesn't last very long, so maybe a battery that can recharge with solar power, or a longer-lasting battery, would be necessary for farmers to make this a useful device.

We all enjoy Becca's face here :)

Wes & Peyton put together their IOT kits.

Calvin problem solving

Kylee & Emma work on their IOT devices

Month of March 2022

State convention last week went off without a hitch! Our Bulldog Buzz team members won many awards including Emma Gillard, Kylee Parish, Calvin Cooper, and Peyton Block receiving the Outstanding Junior Award. Peyton Block and Mckenna Morton won Proficiency Awards. Emily Linck and Mckenna Morton won the State Degree. Becca Straley and Mckenna Morton won Academic Excellence Awards. And Last but not least Mckenna Morton got elected as the new 2022-2023 State FFA Treasurer! While at MSU we took a tour of the greenhouses and learned about horticultural careers. We also learned about animal science careers. It was a great week filled with agricultural fun!

Mckenna, Calvin & Peyton with their proficiency awards

Mckenna elected state treasurer!

Our whole group!

OG Queen Bee Kaia giving her retiring address

We are kicking off the month of March by teaching one another! Each of us have prepared a lesson about bees to teach our class for a day.  Here's what each of us are teaching about:

Month of February 2022

Ravenna Beechnau Elementary School was hosting an after-school event for Valentine's Day called Bee Mine Literacy Night! They asked some Bee Team members to come and teach the kids more about pollinators. The students packed up some of their equipment and brought a fun interactive craft for the students. The kids were able to build their own small bee hives to bring home. 

Month of January 2022

As everyone knows there is a couple  inches of snow still stuck to the ground outside. So, the team has mostly stayed inside the entire month of January and painted our bee hives. Each student was given 3 boxes to paint and personalize to their own liking. We shared a lot of laughs together and made even more messes. 

Week of 11/29/2021

This week we took inventory on our products in Jennifer Ann's Boutique before the big shop Ravenna event. Bee excited, we are extending our stay at Jennifer Ann's Boutique to the end of December!

Week of 11/15/2021

This week we focused on making as many products as possible to sell at Jennifer Ann's Boutique before we go on Thanksgiving break.

Week of 11/8/2021

Our products are selling quickly, so if you want some locally harvested honey and honey products visit Jennifer Ann's Boutique in Ravenna while supplies last! This week the team made more soap bar, jarred up honey and chapstick to sell at Jennifer Ann's Boutique.

Week of 11/1/2021

This week we delivered Honey Bears, Honey Jars, Chapstick, Lipbalm, Soap, and Candles to Jennifer Ann's Boutique in Ravenna where we are the guest vendors for November. All members helped to prepare our beehives for winter!

Week of 10/25/2021

It’s National Convention Week!! Our Chapter Officers, Bee Team members, and other members of the Ravenna FFA traveled down to Indianapolis, Indiana to attend the 94th annual National FFA Convention. Bee team members Mckenna Morton and Peyton Block joined Bayer Crop Sciences to present information about pollinators and how to get started in beekeeping.

Week of 10/18/2021

This week we finished the final touches on the products that we are selling at Jennifer Ann's Boutique in Ravenna during the month of November. Team Members Mckenna Morton and Peyton Block spoke to Mr. Kantola's and Mrs. Luce's 6th-grade classes about our bees. The team also got themselves prepared to head to the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

Week of 10/11/2021

This week we have been hard at work preparing products to sell at  Jennifer Ann's Boutique in Ravenna during the month of November! We hope you can stop by to see all of our hard work and amazing products!

Week of 10/4/2021

This week our amazing class advisors went to the Fall Professional Development Conference, where Mrs. Block and Ms. Schlabach learned a ton of different ways to better our business and our bees! The Gardening team got the garden ready to be tilled, while rest of the team worked on barn maintenance. We also worked one creating different candles, soaps, and lotions that we will be able to sell on our website soon! We will also be guest vendors at Jennifer Ann's Boutique in Ravenna during the month of November, so you can stop in and buy products in person!

Week of 9/27/2021 

This week we got  a visit from Mr. Ben Kalb, who made a promotional video for our business. Check out the link below! Our gardening team got started on harvesting sunflower seed and taking down the sunflower stalks. The technology team started putting the Hive Genie together. We have been busy bees this week!

Week of 9/20/2021 

The product development team started making new products like honey spoons for coffee and tea. They also started putting our new labels onto our honey jars and they have been working on a website to sell our products.

Week of 9/13/2021 

After a long week of researching various products and waiting for supplies to arrive, our product development team began to work on making products. Our beekeepers harvested more honey and beeswax for our products. Our technology team started to assemble our Hive Genie. 

Week of 9/6/2021 

This week the product development team started researching different product recipes for soap, lip balm, and candles. Our gardening team worked on replanting the memorial bush for former teacher Jilanne Marine and continued to work on our garden.

Week of 8/30/2021 

This week we are back to school! We are working on splitting up our responsibilities and forming teams for each of our project areas.  Enjoy these pictures from our market visit last week! 

Week of 8/16/2021

We will be selling honey for the first time this week! Find us at the Ravenna Dog Daze event in downtown Ravenna on Friday, August 20. We will be selling honey from 5:30-8:30 p.m.  We have four sizes: 1.5 oz, 4 oz, 9 oz. and 12 oz.  We will be in front of Beechnau Elementary School with our booth. We will also have flowers from our garden for sale! Hope to see you there!

Week of 7/19/2021

This week, we've been all abuzz!! We got to harvest our honey for the first time! You will be able to buy our wildflower honey in our store, which is located on this website!

Mckenna uncaps the honey

Wesley & Peyton extract honey

FOX 17 interview!

Our wildflower patch

Isn't it beautiful honey?

Some of our garden flowers!

Mckenna with our flowers!

Mckenna bottling honey.

Thank you, FOX 17!

Click on the photos to view the stories.

Week of 7/5/2021

Happy Independence Day!  This week, we worked in the garden. On Friday, some of our group members went to the Music on Stafford celebration to sell beverages as a fundraiser for our National FFA Convention trip.

Becca, Emily, Peyton & Grace hard at work!

Week of 6/28/2021

The new week has begun and guess what.... more rain in the forecast! We are struggling to get on our garden at all, but the good news is, we aren't wasting any time setting up the sprinkler system. We have our new security system on order along with our HiveGenie. We have had a hard time securing any of our technology, and most of the companies point to the shock of the supply chain. Many of them say they are still having a problem securing technology supplies due to problems with COVID supply chain issues and even the Suez Canal backup.  

The good news is that we were finally able to get our hands on a rototiller. We ordered 3 different times and every time, the order was canceled due to lack of supply. This supply shock seems to have a lasting impact on the ag industry.

Week of 6/21/2021

All of the rain we have been lacking this spring has come - all at once! We have received over 5" of rain this week. This makes it difficult to get into our garden to do any work. The bees seem to be enjoying it, however!

Week of 6/14/2021

Summer bee school continues this week! We would like to thank Mr. Chris Wilde for coming in to help us expand our hives this week. He taught us how to smoke the hives, check the hives to see if they are filling up, and what it looks like if a board is covered in honey vs. a brood of baby bees. 

Week of 6/7/2021

Summer bee school is taking place! Our Bee Team members are attending a summer session to learn how to care for the bees and the flower garden. We are also learning how to keep records on the AET (agricultural experience tracker) system. 

Week of 5/24/2021

This week has been spent planting our garden and observing our hives. They are rapidly filling the new supers (hive extensions) that we added! Look at all that pollen on the bee legs in the photo below!

Week of 5/17/2021

The original four members of the Bulldog Buzz competed this week in the Michigan FFA Ag Sales contest. We practiced selling our Bulldog Buzz products, and we placed 3rd in the state!

We also got out to check on the hives and the bees are hard at work! A big step forward in the process came when Mr. Paul Morton came Wednesday evening to prepare our garden site. Thank you to Mr. Morton for the labor and Mr. Fred & Dr. Mary Rosel for letting us use your rototiller for the project!

Week of 5/10/2021

We had the opportunity to host our 21st annual Farm Day this week! We set up a Bee exhibit to teach our little friends all about pollinators.  It was amazing to see how smart some of these young students were about our pollinators. The future looks bright for the Bulldog Buzz!

Week of 5/2/2021

Peyton & Wesley had a chance to go visit the Careerline Tech Center on Saturday, when they were on the way to return the nuc boxes to Don Lam Bees in Holland. Mr. Tony McCaul showed us the bees that the tech center keeps and taught us some new tips to help us with our hives. One cool tip is to approach the hives from behind since the front of the hives is the "Bee Highway." Other fun things we learned is that the Queen Bee lays 1,200 eggs per day and she lives about 3 years! If the hive doesn't like its queen, it will kill her off and make a new queen from one of the eggs that is fed royal jelly. The Bee Team also had the chance to dress up and attend our school's prom this week! 

Week of 4/26/2021

We are officially beekeepers!! Monday night was pick-up night. We received the nucs (packages of bees) from Don Lam in Holland. MB, Kaia, and Mckenna braved the hour-long drive with bees in the back seat. The next day, Peyton, Kaia, Mckenna, and Olivia moved the nucs into their permanent homes behind the Ag barn. Spectators from other classrooms, our school principal Mr. Wilson, and the future team gathered around to watch the hive-warming party. We can't wait to see what the future holds as we take another step toward making our project 'bee' great!

Week of 4/19/2021

This week team members Kaia and Mckenna presented about pollinators to our local Girl Scouts! Additionally, Kuperus Excavating came out to begin the site work for our Bee Barn addition and garden! It's really exciting to see things starting to happen!

What is our project?

Below is a graphic of our three-component competency program. Students in our program will develop knowledge and hands-on skills in agriscience (1), technology (2), and entrepreneurship (3). More information on our program's curriculum can be found in the About Our Project tab.

One of our main goals for this project is to have a fully functioning, student led, and profitable apiary business on Ravenna High School's campus.

We plan on executing this goal by sticking to a 3 pronged approach using agriscience, technology and entrepreneurship. During the process, students will raise and research bees using cutting edge technology, process the honey, and lastly market the honey, selling it to consumers in our area.  Read more about how we will implement our project by clicking on "Our Vision" below: 

The Bulldog Buzz in the News!

Read up on our project and some of the first news articles that appeared about us!

Bee Culture

Read our student's articles about the project, featured in Bee Culture Magazine.