Kids learn secret life of bees

By Ilona Hanne

Dan Harris from New World Stratford with some of the youngsters who will enjoy seeing the bees visit their school gardens.
Dan Harris from New World Stratford with some of the youngsters who will enjoy seeing the bees visit their school gardens.

Marlene Lewis says people often don't realise what an important part bees play in crop production.

"A third of our food supply is pollinated by bees.

"So having a bee hive at school is great, it will pollinate our plants and hopefully also teach the children why we need to protect our bee population," she said.

Krashiv Patel (5) had a big smile for his cupcake, and also demonstrated beautiful manners, by thanking the teacher who made them before he took a bite!
Krashiv Patel (5) had a big smile for his cupcake, and also demonstrated beautiful manners, by thanking the teacher who made them before he took a bite!

Marlene, who is the environmental leader at Stratford Primary, says she and the rest of the staff were thrilled when Dan Harris, owner operator of Stratford New World, chose the school to receive a beehive kit as part of the latest Little Garden promotion running in New World stores across the country.

Dan says the school was chosen as it is the closest primary school to the store.

"Plus the school already does some fantastic things with their school gardens and has lots of great enviro school initiatives."

On Tuesday this week, pupils from rooms 9 and 13, part of the junior syndicate, came out to the school gardens to see the beehive kit.

Deputy Principal Aaron Moore shows some pupils the leafcutter bee cocoons.
Deputy Principal Aaron Moore shows some pupils the leafcutter bee cocoons.

The kit included a leafcutter bee house and 50 leafcutter bee cocoons, a bumble bee nesting box.

"Leafcutter bees are non aggressive bees, so while they can sting, it is only like a mosquito bite and there are no known cases of anyone having an allergic reaction to them," says Marlene.

"Because leafcutter bees don't produce honey they have nothing to defend, so rarely sting anyway."

She says the bumble bee nesting box will encourage more bees to the gardens and help the bee population in the area to thrive.

Dan says he is impressed with the school's environmental initiatives and is delighted to have the opportunity to support them with this donation.

"We have also donated Little Garden kits to other schools as well as rest homes in the area, making sure we are giving back to the community which supports us."

To celebrate the arrival of the beehive kit, Marlene showed off her baking skills with decorated muffins for everyone to enjoy.

WIN:

Stratford New World has given the Stratford Press some Little Garden seedlings to give away to some of our young readers.

To be in to win, design a poster telling us why bees are important or draw a picture of a friendly bee. Drop them into the Stratford Press office on Broadway, or scan and email it to editor@stratfordpress.co.nz. Alternatively post them to Stratford Press, PO Box 300, Stratford, 4332.

Entries close at noon, Wednesday 27 and the winners will be contacted soon after. Open to children aged up to 16.

- Stratford Press

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