Hands-on activities including fun games, plant sampling exercises and pollinator investigations were the elements of an enjoyable and educational World Bee Day observance at the Tabaquite R. C. Primary School on World Bee Day, 20th May 2022.
Students and teachers of Standards Four and Five were all engaged in these exercises courtesy the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Network (BES-Net) Trinidad and Tobago project. Linked with the school through a mutual interest in stingless bees found at the school compound, the project team used the observance of World Bee Day to introduce the senior students of the school to pollination, pollinator types and how scientists undertake research on these important organisms.
Classroom and outdoor learning
In keeping with the careful approach to gatherings in the pandemic, students were led through the exercises in small groups after a short plenary session. Classroom based activities included a review of the parts of a flower, emphasizing the main parts involved in pollination, followed by the construction of a pollination flow-diagram and then a game to link flower types to pollinator types.
Mr. Dan Jaggernauth of the Trinidad and Tobago Field Naturalists’ Club displayed a range of seeds and plant samples and explained their many features and uses to students. Students visited a display of equipment used by scientists in conducting research on bees. They were introduced to blue vane and malaise traps and sweep nets and some sampling of insects was carefully conducted. After all captured specimens were viewed, they were released.
A key objective of the exercise – building students’ knowledge of pollinators and pollination – was achieved and teachers welcomed the activities which fully engaged the students. The students were also prepared for the observance, having ‘built’ a bee hive craft project, and learned about the role of worker, drone and queen bees. The craft project was on display for the morning’s exercises.
The BES-Net TT project team was thankful for the opportunity to share this experience with the school and will follow-up to support the school’s interest in managing stingless bees and provide guidance on developing a pollinator garden on the school compound. The team was grateful for the support of the Ministry of Planning and Development and contributions from the Environmental Management Authority and the Environmental Policy and Planning Division of the Ministry, by providing additional resources on environmental topics to the school.