Beekeeping unites children across Europe

Children from Scotland, Greece, Estonia, Portugal and Italy learn about the critical environmental, cultural and historical role of bees and beekeeping

The innovative Erasmus plus beekeeping project is coordinated by Craigclowan School in Perth Scotland, and involves pupils aged 7-15 from schools in Greece, Estonia, Portugal, and Italy.

Entitled MELISSA after the nymph in Greek mythology, who discovered and taught the use of honey, the project highlights the environmental importance of beekeeping, researches and demonstrates the historical and cultural significance of bees and establishes beekeeping projects at all the schools involved in the project.

Albert Einstein once said that humans “would not survive the honeybees’ disappearance for more than five years”

In the past decade, the UK bee population has decreased by a third due to pests, pesticides, and the destruction of habitats. In September 2017, seven types of bees were added to the list of endangered species. Albert Einstein once said that humans “would not survive the honeybees’ disappearance for more than five years”.

Activities over three years have included designing beehives, setting up projects, art, music, and craft activities, producing merchandise and creating bee friendly gardens and biodiversity trails.

Scottish pupils visited the Azores in 2020 where 60 pupils from across Europe spent the week learning more about bees, visiting local apiaries and cooperatives. The project continued during Covid, with Estonia creating a week of online activities. All schools united once more in January 2022 at Craigclowan school, in Perth, where pupils presented the outcomes of the project, sold bee-related products, and created a multilingual biodiversity trail around the school grounds.

One Craigclowan pupil said: “I have loved working on the project, it has made me realise how much we can do to help nature.”

Carol Dibnah, Latin and French teacher and project coordinator from Craigclowan School, said, “This project has been such fun to work on. Not only have pupils, teachers and parents learned so much about bees and biodiversity, but also lifelong friendships.”

The project will close with a trip to Verbania, Italy where all partners and pupils will meet for the last time in September 2022 and will install beehives into the Italian Apiary on the banks of Lake Maggiore.

About Craigclowan School

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