Seaview School was abuzz with activity on May 29, celebrating the Day of the Honey Bee while show-casing their innovative educational gardening and beekeeping program. About 150 people, including Seaview students, their families and students from Eagleview and NISS, showed up to check out the various honey and bee themed discovery stations organized by principal Heather Johnson, her staff and volunteers.
In the Strong Start room, PAC (Parent Advisory Committee) members Tanya Spafford and Joanne Cameron helped participants make their own personalized lip balm with beeswax, coconut oil and a selection of essential oils. Bev Steffler, another PAC volunteer, hosted a honey tasting table with a variety of types and brands of honey, including Seaview’s own honey.
In the Seaview kitchen, visitors could watch bees busy working under glass in the school’s observation hive. Also on display were the various tools of the beekeeper trade, including a Langstroth Hive, a bee brush, a tool for removing frames from the hives, beekeeper suits for children to try on and a honey extractor. The honey extractor is large cylindrical hand cranked device that removes honey from the beeswax by spinning a hive frame. The frame can then be returned to the hive so that the bees can get straight to work making more honey without having to build new honey combs. While I was there, the school’s secretary and beekeeper, Natalie Stewart, was giving a talk to a group of children about the hive. In response to a student question, they were looking for the queen bee. Although the queen is often hidden behind her worker bees, the group did get a chance to see her as she made an appearance at the edge of the observation hive.
A number of activities centred around the theme of the hexagon—the bees preferred shape for making honeycombs—took place in the gym. The hexagon provides the maximum amount of surface area and strength requiring the least amount of resources, which is a testament to bee’s mathematical abilities. Teacher Morgan Benere provided children with masking tape and encouraged them to cover the entire gym floor with hexagon shapes and fill them with “pollen” represented by marker cones from the gym equipment room. In another corner of the gym, children raced about filling a grid of tiny cups with coloured water with eye droppers in a game intended to give them an appreciation of the bee’s busy life. Seaview’s First Nations educational assistant, Kathleen Keiver, facilitated a display that included a First Nations bumblebee mask, as well as the opportunity to learn the Kwak’wala names of local pollinators. On the stage, Stephanie Boal facilitated an activity exploring the mathematical properties of the hexagon.
For a fun interlude, participants could join Heather Jack in her classroom and make a bee helper headpiece or a popsicle stick bee bookmark with fun foam, googly eyes and pipe cleaners. Other activities available included a scavenger hunt, pollinator puzzles and a group yellow thumb print mural. Once the thumb prints dried, participants could return to doodle on their thumb print and make it into an image of a bee or whatever else inspires them.
Visitors were encouraged to walk around the school grounds to check out the school gardens, the entrance to the observation hive and the bumblebees visiting the bushes beside the observation hive entrance. Students were available to point out the school’s rooftop hive, as well as two new hives in the community garden adjacent to the school.
– Debra Lynn article