Beelore seed packets on display at a festival, Scotland 2015

Learning the Bees: Blog post from Project Intern #1

Hello everyone – beekeepers and bee enthusiasts alike.

My name is Amy, the project intern with the unusually short bio. I’ve been working on ‘Telling the Bees,’ for about three weeks now. And I have to say, it’s already been quite a ride. My responsibilities include, well, anything I can do to help really, but I mostly document stuff – so here I am doing some documenting! Honestly, I’m pretty new to the world of bees. I knew they are important to the environment, but that was the extent of my knowledge. Since I have begun work, I have learnt so much about bees and how incredibly vital they are to human existence, that it has been a real eye-opener!

After a short introduction to the project, by project lead Debbie Maxwell, I threw myself into my first task of putting together a class newspaper from individual newspapers painstakingly made by the pupils of Sheffield’s Wybourn primary school, which really gave me an insight into the multitude of reasons for the bee decline. Pesticides, the only reason I was aware of, is only one of the contributing factors – predators have a role to play.

Later that week, I had the pleasure of actually visiting Wybourn. The pupils had previously been hard at work developing design fictions – prototypes which could help save the world from the bee decline. Whilst I was there, they spent the day rehearsing their dramas – news reports showcasing their new idea and explaining how it will help solve the bee crisis.

The following week, I did a similar sort of thing. I complied the newspapers, transcribed the writing, edited the pictures…oh and I also got a close look at a rooftop beehive.

This was an exhilarating experience that I’m not likely to forget anytime soon. We all got dressed up in large bee suits, which made me look a little like an extra-terrestrial being, before journeying up to the roof where the hive is located. I watched beekeeper Julia (https://twitter.com/yonderhoney) little tentatively, as she took apart the hive to ensure it was functioning properly. And I kid you not; there must have been thousands. I even got to hold one of the frames of the hive.

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The adventures of that day were far from over. That same day, I left with Debbie and another intern to have a stall at Kew botanical gardens in London to show members of the public the beespoon and teach them how to make origami flowers. Well, that was the plan anyway, until the beespoon didn’t show up.

Nevertheless, we decided to use this opportunity to have a look around the botanical gardens as research – and it would be safe to say that the gardens are a bee heaven, with thousands of beautiful flowers and loads of bees. I even managed to get some photographs of bees at work.One of the most interesting things I discovered that day was the method that bees use to communicate – they hear through sound vibrations!

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