11-year-old Mikaila Ulmer from Texas is building a lemonade empire, and hoping to save honey bees in the process!
It all started when Mikaila was 4 years old and she was stung by a bee twice in one week! This prompted her to become very scared whenever bees were near.
In order to help her cope with this new fear, Mikaila’s parents asked her to do some research on bees. She learned that bees are incredibly important for flowers, gardens and trees as pollinators.
She also learned that they are dying at a rapid rate. In the past year, honey bee farmers have reported losing nearly 42% of their colony! Many believe that this could be due to the overuse of pesticides, which can have many bad effects upon bees.
This is when set her mind to create a product to help save bees. She decided she would sell Lemonade and she started her company, BeeSweet Lemonade. Her special lemonade recipe came from her great-grandmother’s cookbook. She decided to add honey to it, instead of sugar, in order to call attention to the problems honey bees face. Mikaila sells lemonade almost everyday at her lemonade stand! And she takes every opportunity to tell her customers about the issues facing honey bees.
What began as a small operation is starting to grow. BeeSweet is projected to sell almost 140,000 bottles of lemonade this year! BeeSweet lemonade can be found on the shelves at select Whole Foods Markets as well as many restaurants and other locations near her home in Austin, Texas.
Mikaila and her cause have also been featured in many news reports, magazines, blogs and even on Shark Tank, a TV show featuring hopeful entrepreneurs.
Does Mikaila have any time to just be a kid? Sure! Her parents have said that every weekend, Mikaila does something fun. She doesn’t mind the hard work though. She says that she is happy watching people enjoy her lemonade, and that makes her want to grow her company more and more. The more people enjoy, the more they’re learning about the bees.
Check out this inspiring video that tells Mikaila’s story and then see below for ways you can get involved to help the bees:
- Here’s the BeeSweet Lemonade website, where you can learn more about Mikaila’s wonderful Lemonade and cause!
- Check out other inspiring stories and videos from IMK on the environment and animals
- Here’s an IMK post about a teenager who helps the environment by recycling
Topics for Discussion:
- Why is it so important to help the environment and the animals in it, as Mikaila does?
- What qualities do you think Mikaila has that help motivate her efforts?
- What is something you can do to help the environment?
- Do you like honey? What are some ways you have used it?
- Do you think Mikaila will continue to grow her business? Why or why not?
- Research honeybees as a class. Keep these things in mind as you do:
- Are there different kinds of honey bees?
- Do different hives produce different honey, or is it all the same?
- Where are some places that bees make hives?
- Visit BeeSweet’s website to learn more ways to help the bees
- Here are several ways you can help bees, starting right at home, thanks to National Geographic
- Learn how to start your own business thanks to PBS
- Get ideas to help the environment from PBS Zoom
- Check out the Action for Nature community which encourages young people to take action to nurture and protect the environment
- Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
- Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.