Bees were a big deal in Mad Hatters Nursery the week commencing 20th May, World Bee Day. The children had been making finger puppets, honeycomb biscuits and planting bee friendly herbs and flowers in the garden before I’d arrived that week. They’d also taken part in a children’s bee and bug yoga class, so naturally my workshop focussed on bee conservation and why they’re so crucial to all ecosystems, for without bees, our food supply would be in serious jeopardy.
Bees are essential to a healthy environment and a healthy economy. We rely on them and other insects to pollinate most of our fruit and vegetables, but, bees are the perfect pollinators. Our little black and yellow friends are behind much of the food we eat so if you have a piece of fruit, cereal with dried fruit or honey on toast for breakfast, all of these things will have been brought to you by bees.
Globally there are 20,000 species of bees and 270 reside in the UK. It was reported last month by Inews.co.uk that 17 bee species have recently gone extinct in eastern England and another 25 are threatened. The main factor causing this decline is intensive agriculture – chemical pollutants and pesticides, along with deforestation, loss of habitat and climate change.
With these issues in mind the kids and I began our drawing session on bee conservation. We chatted about pollination and the children were quite surprised to learn that bees don’t just help create food, but the cotton t-shirts and dresses they were wearing too.
I added some blades of grass to one of our big drawings and asked the kids why I’d done so. One little boy emphatically told me that when bees are buzzing from flower to flower, they can hide from predators in the long grass. Incredible, I thought. A little girl then grabbed a pink pen and drew a queen bee on the board which was to rival my very quick sketch! It was a bee-autiful workshop and a very important one to be buzzing about, so thank you for having me to help Mad Hatters.
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