It was with some success, I feel, that last week saw me complete my first bee workshop with a group of adults in Leeds. The workshop is designed to give an engaging and interactive snapshot of the world of bees, plants and their relationship with humans.
We first looked at what pollination is and what a bee is. Simple questions that reveal, as with all natural history, extraordinarily complex answers. For every rule botanists have about plants, there are a thousand rule-breakers. For every fact we think we know about bees, there are hundreds of poorly known bee species waiting to prove us wrong. Were you aware, for example, that no male bees sting? That males can often be identified by their yellow moustaches? Or that there are cuckoo bees, which sneak in to others’ nests, usurp the queen inside and start laying their own young?
We then looked a little at other cultural perspectives on bees, in order to engender the understanding that scientific knowledge of bees is just one way of knowing and identifying them. There are many cultural perspectives of them and the Kayapo of Brazil and the Palawan of the Philippines provided a couple of interesting examples.
The second half of the workshop looks at what the crisis is facing bees, what a bee-friendly plant is, and what we can do to help.
Having thoroughly enjoyed giving the workshop, and having some positive feedback, I would love to hear if you knew of any people or places that might be interested to have a similar workshop near them. Just give me a shout if you fancy it.