Getting schooled in bee conservation
The Bee City Canada School program, created by Bee City Canada, was brought to life not in a boardroom, not in front of a computer screen, but in a classroom. Ashleigh White, a teacher at Tredway-Woodsworth Public School in Scarborough, Ontario, contacted Bee City Canada after becoming very emotional watching a Honey Nut Cheerios commercial, during which she learned that honeybees are dying off at alarming rates. She asked Bee City Canada if we could speak to her students about these issues.
Bee City Canada agreed, and spent a delightful afternoon speaking to the students about these vulnerable pollinators. The students were enthusiastic, fascinated and very curious about bees and other pollinators. They understood how important pollinators are to our human existence and were very excited and hopeful to learn that they could do their part to help bee populations. From this, our first visit, the Bee City School program was born, and Tredway-Woodsworth became the first “Bee School” in Canada.
The school program involves students creating a pollinator-friendly garden, which brings the learning outside and helps students connect to nature. From the program, students learn more about native species and how bees help sustain natural environments.
A year has passed since we first visited Tredway-Woodsworth, and there is bee magic happening in their school. Here is what the students are buzzing about:
“Being a part of the Tredway Woodsworth bee garden and hotel last year helped me realize that it will take almost every ounce of human strength and determination to be able to finally save the bees from the brink of extinction,” says Winnie, a Grade 8 student at the school. According to her, students at Tredway Woodsworth Public School are researching reasons why bee populations have been declining over the past decade.
“I believe that the real meaning behind the reason to become a Bee School is that we all must work together and cooperate to one day, finally, save the bees from extinction,” says Julia, Winnie’s classmate. “As we continued to learn about bees and the important role they play in our food supply, we learned that the systemic nature of the problem makes it complex, but not impossible,” she says.
Winnie, Julia and the other students from Tredway-Woodsworth, along with students from four other Bee Schools in Ontario, have inspired Bee City Canada to get the “buzz word” out to all schools in Canada to become part of the Bee City family.
Not an elementary school student? No problem. You can do your part for our native pollinators by planting a garden full of native species and learning more about how to combat the declining bee population here.