The college’s Bee Sponsorship Project will raise money for Kangaroo Island and Adelaide Hills apiaries through sponsorship of bees and the sale of honey harvested from St Mary’s rooftop hive.
Proceeds from the student-driven program will allow the establishment of replacement hives and plant stock to ensure the survival of new bee populations in the bushfire damaged regions.
The urban beekeeping initiative, led by eight student volunteers, comes after South Australia reported losing 3,000 beehives on Kangaroo Island and in the Adelaide Hills fires last December.
Educator and Leader of Innovation at St Mary’s College, Jasmin Parasiers, oversees the Bee Sponsorship Project and says the program has already gained a large amount of community support.
“We’ve had a range of people come on board from both inside the community and outside and we’ve had people buying sponsorships from interstate,” Parasiers said.
“[The students are] working to link up with individuals on KI and in the Adelaide Hills to provide donations and sponsorship to beekeepers and planting programs with the anticipation it’s going to assist not only the beekeepers but also the other members of the community who rely on pollination.
“They realise that even though it’s a cool project just for them, they want to share the learning that they’ve had about bees beyond their classroom and their projects.”
The Bee Sponsorship Project’s beehive, located on the top of St Mary’s College science labs, will host bees by the end of August.
The R-12 Catholic girls school in the heart of the city focuses on a range of student-driven enterprises through their Innovation and Entrepreneurship program.
The program includes the Grow at Home Seed Project, focusing on mentoring local schools on gardening; the Future Anything program, teaching students to engage in social enterprise and the Grounds for Change Barista Project, educating students on business and management skills.
The college’s Director of Teaching and Learning Tracey Thursby said although these initiatives aren’t typical ways of learning, they are essential for students.
“We need to change up our education system to be much more flexible, and to really empower our students so they can be active participants in the world,” Thursby said.
“Students of today want to do things they’re passionate about and we’re trying to harness that agency for them to drive their learning and develop the interpersonal skills they’re going to need beyond school.
“So, this is the approach that we’ve been taking at St Mary’s with the innovation program.”
The Bee Sponsorship Program promotes active learning in sustainability and encourages students to engage with apiary construction, beekeeping skills and marketing of honey and other products.
Sponsors of the project can purchase a badge for $5.00, a badge and pot of honey for $10.00 or a badge, certificate and a namespace on the founding members’ hive for $20.00 from the college.
The project is expected to produce its first batch of honey in the next year and will establish a live stream of the bees to promote the project to the community.