Since 2016, Galiano Island Community School has played host to a hive of honey bees, part of the Bee Cause program that provides observation hives to schools and community centres across North America.
Galiano’s program is run by Colleen Doty, who applied for a Bee Cause grant when she was working with the Galiano Island Food program. Doty volunteers to both keep the bees and teach the kids.
“I think it really connects children with ecology and our connections with nature. We are linked and it’s really important for the kids to learn from the bees as well,” she said. “There’s so much fear around little insects that sting, so this has been a great way to teach kids that bees don’t want to sting you. They’re very gentle and they’re just really lovely.”
The Bee Cause program is a charitable organization based in Savannah, Georgia dedicated to teaching kids about honeybees. Its goal is to put 1,000 hives all over North America. So far the group has provided over 300 hives, according to its website.
When the program started, Doty was a new beekeeper. She has had support from a local mentor, the community and the school since the beginning of the project. Though the hive is in the school library, it is available to community members of all ages interested in learning about bees.
“In previous years we’ve had the daycare and Strong Start program, which is like preschool. Those kids came in to see it,” she said. “It’s open to whoever. I’ve let people know and the public out there who aren’t necessarily connected to the school community that I’m available to show the bees if they want.”
For more on this story, see the May 9, 2018 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.