THE ART OF BEEING
Local woman teaches urban farming and beekeeping classes to children.
WRITTEN BY ERIN MEYERING
PHOTO BY CANDICE NYANDO
It’s like walking into a secret garden. Hops grow up a large teepee in the front yard amid fairy statues and a small pear and apple orchard. Venture to the backyard and you’ll come across a brightly colored gypsy wagon and small greenhouse, lush with carrots, ginger root, kale, and cilantro. On your way to the yurt, you’ll find a huge sunflower stalk with more than 25 buds on it. You’ll observe countless other garden treasures, including grapevines, buzzing bees, a towering sequoia tree, and dozens of herbs such as clary sage, hollyhock, and lemon balm.
Sheila LeDrew’s Reno home and garden double as a year-round classroom where children learn about art, bees, seasonal permaculture, edible plants, and much more.
“Art is so important, and we can have it in an urban setting,” LeDrew says. “It’s all about keeping close to nature.”
A teacher for more than 17 years and an amateur beekeeper for just four years, LeDrew admits it’s a learning process. This winter, her bee colony died out due to the harsh weather and a lack of food. However, she was astonished when a wild native bee swarm took over the hive on May 1.
In addition to learning about beekeeping, how bees produce honey, and how to harvest it, children who attend her classes are encouraged to explore their outdoor environment, including making a visit to Bernice, LeDrew’s fluffy angora rabbit. LeDrew’s focus on sustainability and nature shows, as she’s even spun yarn from Bernice’s wool.
“I live my dream daily,” LeDrew says of her environment and connection to teaching children about nature, life, and the garden.
Fall classes for ages 2 and up include painting with honey, harvesting honey, painting with encaustic (beeswax, resin, and pigment), and painting images of bees, discovering flowers, and more.
For details on Miss Sheila’s classes, visit http://www.Artonearthreno.com.
Erin Meyering was taken aback by the beauty and complexity of Sheila LeDrew’s garden. During the interview and garden tour, she even tried a borage flower right off the plant, which pleasantly tasted like cucumber.