Techniques for Making Pollinator Friends at Events--
Especially Farmers Markets!
Have you ever been invited to table about bees, monarchs or other pollinators at a festival or other event? 

"Tablers" literally have mere moments to connect with passers-by and share their message.

Here are some really nice ideas for making fast buddies for bees, butterflies, beetles and flower flies.

Farmers Market Kids Scavenger Hunt
Parents and grandparents who bring little ones to Farmers Markets are grateful to offer them a fun activity to bring the market to life. Here's a home run idea!

Ideally, at least 3 volunteers will staff your table, one to recruit scavengers, one to get them set up with instructions and pencils, and one to outfit them with antennae and wings.

1st Base!
As the market opens, prepare the vendors. Explain the scavenger hunt concept to them and display a laminated card  ( click here to see the card ) at their booth to alert "scavengers" that something on their list can be found at that booth. (Cards are designed to be printed 6 per legal sheet of paper. You can retrieve the cards when the market closes.)

Many vendors know very little about pollinators or which foods are pollinated by which pollinators. Most probably don't know about local pollinator conservation efforts underway. Preparing vendors for the scavenger hunt is an opportune time to share information and make new friends.

2nd Base!
As children pass by your table, ask them if they would like to go on a scavenger hunt to find foods, beverages and other products containing ingredients that were pollinated by bees and other animals. If they agree, invite them to choose a magic marker and write their name on the poster board, so when they finish the hunt, they can proudly add the number of items they found next to their name and select their prize.
The scavenger hunt instructions and check-off list are printed back and front on a half page of paper. ( Click here for instructions. Let us know if you need the original art to substitute food items more common in your area.) While parents are shopping, the kids are on the lookout for the items on their list, which may be fresh produce or ingredients in a prepared product.

Once they have their check-off list and pencil, and they've written their name on the board, move the kids to an adjoining table to get them dressed appropriately for their hunt--with antennae and wings! (Instructions for making antennae and wings follow below.)

3rd Base!
Engage the parents and grandparents in pollinator education. As you equip the kids for the hunt with the scavenger hunt checklist, antennae and wings, it's a natural time to have a conversation about which foods are pollinated by which pollinators.  Click  here  for a list you can have on hand for that discussion. Everyone is surprised to learn that flower flies pollinate avocados, cherries, coffee, mangoes, pears, blackberries, raspberries and tea plants!
Home Run & Prizes!
As the kids walk around the market in wings and antennae, marking their lists and asking vendors what they carry from the list, the whole market starts buzzing about pollinators, more kids get recruited, and everyone leaves knowing more than they did before.

When you prepare kids for the hunt, tell them to be sure to return when they're done to:

(1) write how many items they found next to their name on the poster board, and (2) choose their prize ( honey sticks, bee stickers...).

If they like, they can take their scavenger hunt card home with them as a reminder of pollinators' hard work. Of course, you can do the scavenger hunt at any food market, but outdoor farmers markets are the most fun, especially for volunteers.
Make Antennae & Wings
(Great for Any Event)
Once the child agrees to go on the scavenger hunt, encourage them to become a pollinator of their choice (bee, flower fly, butterfly, or beetle) using Bee City USA's antennae poster shown below and linked  here.

(Poster is available to print full size through large format printers at 15" x 36" and laminate).

Bees tend to have long black antennae with elbow bends;  flower flies tend to have short, stubby brownish nubs;  butterflies tend to have long straight antennae with small nubs on the ends; and beetles tend to have dramatic, gently curving, long black antennae.

It's helpful to place sample sets of antennae on the poster (bee antennae on bee section, and so on).

The kids love hearing that they can smell flowers and food with their antennae, and try flying for the first time with their new wings!

Click  here for an explanation for making antennae (with headbands and pipe cleaners) and wings (with tulle, pipe cleaner and safety pin).
Bee City USA Pollinator Antennae Poster
(Great for Any Event)
Download poster artwork here .
Supplies & Logistics for Scavenger Hunt
What You'll Need
  • Scavenger hunt instruction sheet for kids
  • Pencils for scavengers (inexpensive "golf pencils" are available at office supply stores)
  • Colorful magic markers
  • Flip chart paper or poster board on short easel
  • Bee City USA antennae poster (optional)
  • Vendor scavenger hunt cards to display in booths
  • Antennae and wings (optional)
  • Food list (optional)
  • Prizes for kids (honey sticks, bee-related stickers ...)
  • Sign up sheet for your email list (optional)

Helpful Logistics

  1. Contact your Farmers Market in advance to request permission to host a pollinator scavenger hunt. You are providing a service to the Farmers Market, so they may even give you free booth space and possibly a tent and table.
  2. Display a poster at the front of your booth headlined, "Scavenger Hunt Starts Here!" and directing, "A. Get instructions. B. Get wings and antennae. C. Go on hunt. D. Report back for prize."
  3. Display a donation jar to cover your printing and supplies costs and/or find a sponsor to cover your costs, and thank them with a sign at your booth.
  4. Have a few volunteers on hand to: make antennae, recruit kids, and outfit kids with antennae and wings, prepare vendors for the hunt, and retrieve scavenger hunt cards from vendors at the end of the market, and pack up.
  5. Invite parents to sign up for email updates on your local pollinator conservation efforts.

Signage for Farmers Markets
From Shannon Chapin Groff in Carrboro, NC
Carrboro, North Carolina, was the third city to become certified as a Bee City USA affiliate. They frequently use their Farmers Market as an educational opportunity and one of their volunteers, Shannon Chapin Groff, developed six nice posters they are willing to share (shown as thumbnails below), including the "Employ-Bee of the Month" series with each showcasing a Honey Bee, Green Sweat Bee, Southeastern Blueberry Bee, a Squash Bee, and a Blue Orchard Mason Bee. They may be printed on 11" x 16" paper, or even 18" x 24". Each poster features photos, the species' geographic range, and what they pollinate. The sixth poster has a variety of fresh produce at the top, and the same picture repeated on the bottom but with items that required pollinators removed. Many thanks to Shannon and Carrboro for sharing their creation with other affiliates. Shannon has donated the original Adobe Illustrator art for Bee City USA to share if you would like to customize it for your community. Just make a request at
From Megan McManamen and Alex Mansur in Gillette, WY
Gillette, Wyoming, became a Bee City USA affiliate in 2016. Like Carrboro, they wanted to use their Farmers Market to make the connection between pollinators and the foods we enjoy. Many thanks to Megan and Alex for sharing their artwork for these educational 8.5" x 11" posters!

Laminate these posters and display them at Farmers Markets to start a conversation about pollinators. The artwork is available  here.
Bee City USA & Bee Campus USA