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Beekeeping Programme

Posted: 16th May 2024

Honey bees

The College has just launched an exciting new beekeeping programme, led by Mr Oliver Cackett, teacher of Science and PE, which aims to educate pupils and staff about the vital role bees play in our ecosystem. This beekeeping initiative, a first for the College, began with the arrival of a swarm of approximately 12,000 honey bees last week.

In the afternoon of Friday 10th May, Mr Cackett was alerted to a swarm of honey bees in a rugby ball-shaped formation that had settled on a bush at Manston Industrial Estate; they were then safely transported to beehives at St Lawrence College as part of a re-wilded section of the Newlands playing fields. Swarms of this size are typical, though they can vary from 2,000 to 30,000 bees depending on the time of year and the size of the original colony.

The College beekeeping programme has several key objectives. It aims to educate pupils and staff on the importance of bees and a new beekeeping module will be introduced alongside biology units during the Summer Term. The initiative furthermore seeks to improve local biodiversity at the College supporting the pollination of local crops and enhancing the local ecosystem.

Senior students can participate in beekeeping activities on Friday afternoons, while Year 7 and 8 pupils will have beekeeping sessions on Saturday mornings, weather permitting. This hands-on involvement will offer students a unique educational experience and a deeper understanding of environmental sustainability. The bees are expected to produce honey, which will be given to participating students to take home.

Mr Cackett’s passion for beekeeping began at age 11, when he received his first hive. Encouraged by his grandfather, he managed around 50 hives together. After a hiatus, Mr Cackett has returned to beekeeping in the past six years and is now eager to share his knowledge and enthusiasm with the St Lawrence community.

Barney Durrant, Head of College, expressed his enthusiasm for the new beekeeping programme, stating, “We are incredibly excited about the launch of our beekeeping programme. This initiative not only provides a unique, hands-on learning experience for our pupils but also underscores our commitment to sustainability and biodiversity.”

Beehive with honey bees



Categories: Co-curricular Senior