Caerphilly pupils to get buzz from bee conservation lessons

Posted 30 July 2015
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Caerphilly children are set to grow up with a detailed knowledge of the importance of bees to the environment, thanks to a pioneering initiative to take bee education into every primary school.

Ynysddu Primary School is to be the venue for a ‘Honeybee Hive House Project’, which will allow pupils from every junior school in the Caerphilly County Borough to visit to take part in a hive inspection.

The project is the brainchild of the Sirhowy Valley Honeybee Company (SVHC) in Wyllie near Blackwood, whose founder Lorne East hopes will go on to become a tourist attraction and education centre. 

“This is the first step towards SVHC’s ultimate goal of opening an education and exhibition centre to create employment and attract tourism to our beautiful valley, putting the Sirhowy Valley not only on the map of Wales but on the map of the world,” said Lorne.

SVHC was established in 2014 with the help of an award from SEWCED towards equipment and running costs.

SVHC has hosted National Curriculum-tailored workshops for many pupils from numerous primary schools at his apiary over the past year. 

The latest group to visit the hives were 11-year-olds from Cwmfelinfach Primary school whose session taught them about pollination, adaptation, food chains and responsible management of the environment.

“They were shown how bees help produce most of our fruit and vegetables, as well as many other crops,” said Lorne.  “They learned how, through their pollination of plants, bees are a key species in British ecosystems.”`



The Cwmfelinfach Key Stage 2 children were kitted out in protective clothing for their workshop – child-sized bee suits, thick gloves and Wellington boots - and took part in a hive inspection.

“They even managed to find the queen in one colony – no mean feat when you consider that a typical honeybee colony may have around 50,000 worker bees and just one queen,” said Lorne.

In the UK, the value of the bee as a crops pollinator is around £430 million.  To this end, Lorne has been putting his honeybees on local gardeners’ allotments to help pollinate vegetable plants and flowers.  

“Our plan is to achieve a target of 100 fully productive honeybee colonies in the Sirhowy Valley within the next five years,” he added.   “Within our first year, we have increased our colonies to well over 30 placed across the valley.” 

Cllr Ken James, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Planning and Sustainable Development at Caerphilly County Borough Council said: “The unique nature of Sirhowy Valley Honeybee Company is the fact that it’s being established as a community enterprise – a profit-making company with wider social objectives concerned with raising awareness among young people about the importance of bees.”

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