Aged from eight to ten, the students from Wolf Fields Primary School and Norwood Green Juniors – which are near the three-acre site – took part in a ‘pollination party’ hosted by London Education Manager David Melville and his team.
A highlight was on the Monday afternoon, when the ten year-olds were able to try out the Bee Observation Hide with live bees for the first time. Bee Officer Laura Belton had sown a mesh of material together so up to 30 children could gather into a huge hide and get ‘close up and personal’ to our bee colony. This trial run took ten – including six deaf students.
This was followed by a visit to the sensory garden before trying out the texture box walk area and then catching pollinators by grass sweeping. ‘Everyone really enjoyed themselves,’ said Signing and Lead Teacher Lina Stathopoulou.
‘At this time of high summer our “Environmental Encounters” programme always gets out its party hat to celebrate and appreciate the unseen “eco-system service” provided by our honey bees, other bees and pollinators,’ said David Melville.
‘I always say, if at the end of the two days we can change children’s attitudes to not killing every stinging insect in sight – and even challenging their parents’ attitudes them to be positive – then it will be a win-win for bees and us.’
According to David, the deaf children particularly enjoyed removing their shoes and socks and experiencing the tactile sensations of different substrates under their feet. ‘They also took imaginary photos of their favourite flowers and bees in the garden – a sensory delight,’ he added.
Nearly 20 adults supervised the pollination party, including our staff and volunteers Henriette Gronvik, Annette Crosbourne, Kim Khongsai and Hazel Currey. (Photo shows David Melville and Laura Belton in beekeepers’ gear – with staff and students from Norwood Green Juniors)