PLAN bee is underway at two primary schools, where pupils have learned about declining numbers of bees – with some taking their concerns to Rugby’s first citizen.
St Andrew’s Benn CofE Primary School held a bee-themed week, when children learned that we could be left with only half the amount of fruit and vegetables to eat in a world without bees.
And having read Bee & Me by Alison Jay – a story which imagines a world without bees – children at Bilton C of E Junior School wrote over 100 letters to the Mayor of Rugby.
Nature lover Mayor Tom Mahoney responded enthusiastically by inviting five pupils to his parlour to discuss their ideas to encourage more bees into the area.
St Andrew’s Benn’s Bee Week was organised with the help of Steve Brown from Rugby Beekeeping Association.
He and colleague Gail Plester visited the school with a real beehive, bee suits, some of their homemade honey and lots of other beekeeping equipment, to hold a school assembly and worked with smaller groups of children.
The school bought several bee-themed books and held special lessons during which children made beeswax candles and lip balm – and some of their parents planted bee-friendly plants in the school grounds.
Deputy head teacher Jessica Wells said: “Our children have learnt so much about how we need bees to live and how we can help them. Until today, the children didn’t realise that bees give us so much more than honey.”
Year 6 pupil Rianna said: “I’ve learnt that without bees, we’d be short of food as they are pollinators,” and Ingrid from Year 4 added: “I’ve learnt a lot, such as that a Queen can die and then the other bees replace her.”
Armed with a wealth of facts and inspired by Bee & Me, 105 Bilton Junior pupils wrote to Coun Mahoney asking him to support them in their drive to save bees in Rugby.
Head teacher Alexandra Norton said: “Alison Jay’s story has empowered the children to embark on a journey to do what they can to help to stop the decline in the number of bees in our local area.
“Before preparing their letters, the children looked into how the bee population has declined in recent years. It was amazing to see how optimistic and positive the children have been about suggestions to improve the local area and to make it bee friendly.”
Little did the children know that the Mayor is a nature lover.
He told them their campaign was “right up my street” and invited Year 5 students Lowan, Austin, Olivia, Elizabeth and Amelie to the Town Hall.
After a tour of the Debating Chamber, Coun Mahoney took the children to the Mayor’s Parlour where they discuss their conservation ideas.
Elizabeth said: “There are lots of green spaces in Rugby that are just grass, but they could quite easily be turned into areas of wild flowers that will not only look beautiful but will also be really good for the bees in the town as they will have lots of places to go to collect pollen.”
Plans are now in place for ‘BJS Plan Bee’ – which will see wild flower seeds sown on a patch of grass around school to help bees and other pollinators thrive.
Mrs Norton said: “The children have been amazing ambassadors for the school and we are very grateful to the Mayor for listening to their concerns and enabling our youngsters to have a say about the improvements that can be made to the environment they live in.”