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Local Youth Learn about Bees and Candle Making

SPARTA, Ill.- Local youth learned about the importance of bees during a recent beeswax candle making workshop. Beeswax candles, which are slow burning and have a pleasant, natural aroma, have been around for hundreds of years. Unlike paraffin wax candles, beeswax candles produce very little smoke and can even help purify the air.

Beeswax is produced by honey bees and is a by-product of extracted honey production. For every 100 pounds of honey, up to two pounds of wax are produced. Organic beeswax is versatile and can be used to create many all-natural products including chapstick, lotion, body cream and deodorant.

During the workshop, youth learn that bees play a vital role in our environment as they act as pollinators for flowers, fruits and vegetables. They also learned about the declining bee population. In some regions, up to 90% of bees have disappeared. 

The workshop was led by long-time 4-H supporter, Charlene Stewart. She is a member of the 4-H Hall of Fame and served for over ten years as a 4-H club leader. The event was also an opportunity for local youth to meet the new Randolph County 4-H Extension Program Coordinator, Michaela Stewart, who is the daughter of Charlene.

While she is new to the role, Michaela is not new to U of I Extension or 4-H. Several years ago, she had a summer internship assisting with programming in Randolph County and Perry County. She then spent a year as a 4-H program coordinator in St. Clair County at Scott Air Force Base. In addition, Michaela is a 4-H alum, having spent over a decade as a member of the program.

“I’m excited to be in this role with Extension. I remember participating in 4-H workshops as an eight-year-old kid. It’s come full-circle to now be the person coordinating programs for a whole new generation of youth,” stated Stewart.

4-H programs empower youth to reach their full potential by working and learning in partnerships with caring adults. To learn more about 4-H or future workshops and events, contact the Randolph County Extension office at (618) 443-4364.

News Source: Micheala Stewart, 618-443-4364,         

News Writer: Heather Willis, 618-357-2126,