The kids and the bees: St. Bonaventure's students showcase their own hive and bee research

Grade 7 students of St. Bonaventure's College in St. John's showed off their very own beehive to the community on Saturday.  (Mike Moore/CBC - image credit)
Grade 7 students of St. Bonaventure's College in St. John's showed off their very own beehive to the community on Saturday. (Mike Moore/CBC - image credit)
Mike Moore/CBC
Mike Moore/CBC

Grade 7 students at St. Bonaventure's College celebrated World Bee Day on Saturday with a presentation from their very own hive near the school in downtown St. John's.

The hive was gifted to the school in 2021 by the Newfoundland and Labrador Beekeeping Association and has been the brainchild of social studies teacher Chris Peters and science teacher Robyn Matthews ever since.

"We have a student, who has since moved on, who was super keen in beekeeping and she kept saying 'we should have bees,'" Peters told CBC News.

"I kind of thought, there's no way. Then a couple of things came together. During the lockdown we were offered a hive for the school. I sent an email off thinking the answer would be no and everyone came back with 'that's a great idea.'"

The students spent months researching the role of bees and their impact on the environment through core subjects including math, English, science and social studies.

The research was then presented Saturday morning, with about 70 people in attendance.

"It's been great for the class overall just to learn about bees in a different [way]," said Peters.

"The kids had a great time. They put this information together. We very much wanted them to identify what they thought was important and they did a great job of picking the history of bees but also the life cycle of the bees and demonstrating that."

Mike Moore/CBC
Mike Moore/CBC

The project has also produced a lasting impact on some of the students.

"I've actually been thinking about starting a hive myself with my family," student Ryan Piercey said.

"We've always thought about it, but this year has really made it come to life. Now that I know so much about it, maybe it's coming even closer to starting one."

Piercey said there's space at his home that is perfect for his family's hive and is hoping to harvest his own honey and wax when the time comes.

Mike Moore/CBC
Mike Moore/CBC

As for the St. Bon's hive, the class has not harvested anything from that just yet.

Peters said they left the honey inside last year but are hoping to go through with a harvest next fall.

And while the students will mostly disappear for summer holidays at the end of the school year, Peters said some are planning to stop by the hive when they can.

"We've been working on getting our students comfortable around bees and getting in there and inspecting the hive and working with the bees," he said.

"It's phenomenal to have the students rewarded with people coming down to listen to what they have to say about bees and what they've learned."

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