With sustainability top of mind during Earth Week, a beehive and two bee hotels will be installed on campus.
This exciting development has been made possible by the generosity of donors Andy Chisholm ’77 and Laurie Thomson, and is part of their gift to support sustainability initiatives across the College that include an educational component for students.
The beehive and hotels are a joint venture organized by Director of Community Service, CAS and Clubs John Sweetman; Lynda Yearwood, who teaches design and computer science in the Upper School; and Head of the Prep Sarah Fleming. UCC will be working in partnership with Alvéole, a company that provides schools and corporations with nature-based solutions, such as hives. UCC has been assigned an Alvéole hive manager, Daniel Macgregor, who will service and maintain the hives and deliver relevant programs at UCC. The bees are stingless, so they don’t pose a safety issue to students.
“This will be a good opportunity to bring everyone together to learn and step forward in our environmental stewardship of our campus,” says Sweetman. “We’re eager for opportunities to have events that include both the Upper School and the Prep.”
Prep students will attend a program about bees and their role in the ecosystem to launch the initiative. The formal installation of the outdoor hive will be attended by the Prep’s Eco-warriors and the Upper School’s Sustainability Committee, as well as a bee mascot and Ice the Husky, the UCC mascot.
The hive will be in proximity to the “Where the Wild Things Are” Forest. The hotels are designed for solitary bees that don’t depend on a community; one will be located in the Prep Learning Garden and the other in the Manget Outdoor Classroom at the Upper School.
“The idea is to offer continuous learning related to the hive and the hotels,” says Sweetman. “We’ll reach out to the sustainability community to see if anyone is interested in learning to become a beekeeper; the Ontario Beekeeper’s Association offers workshops.”
Yearwood and the design staff are already thinking about incorporating the bees into real-world projects, asking the students to design additional bee hotels that can be placed around campus for solitary bees. The beehive project also comes with 100 jars of honey, so the students will have a chance to design a branded label for UCC honey.
Year 2 and 3 students will be getting in on the action with the chance to take part in an All About Bees after-school program that will run in April and May.
In addition to creating honey, bees provide an essential service to farmers, horticulturalists and gardeners, pollinating many orchard fruits, berries, flowers, vegetables and forage crops. The UCC hive will help replenish the Canadian bee population.