In 2013, the departmentalcouncil of Seine-Saint-Denis wanted to set up beehives in secondary schools with two goals: to educate pupils about the importance of biodiversity and about their environment in general, and to promote biodiversity and bee preservation in Seine-Saint-Denis.
So, the departmental council of Seine-Saint-Denis developed an education programme called “Beehives in my school” to make this a concrete commitment and encourage projects which help pupils to broaden their knowledge and succeed. This programme is a major initiative in the Departmental Education Project.
Because ekodev has set up more than 250 beehives in the Île-de-France region and works with a network of passionate beekeepers, it met the department’s requirements to supply schools with educational tools and resources. It also brought added value thanks to its partnerships with the National Institute for Agricultural Research and with the Ministry of Agriculture.
At first, 8 hives were set up in 4 secondary schools in the department: Gustave Courbet in Pierrefitte-sur-Seine, Lenain de Tillemon in Montreuil, Pablo Picasso in Montfermeil and Jean-Pierre Timbaud in Bobigny took part in the project.
The pupils were a little scared at the beginning, but soon they became very curious. Thanks to activities organised by ekodev, they have become more and more aware of issues threatening biodiversity. Workshops to discover a hive from the inside, to learn about the life of a bee, the organization of a colony, honey production and of course to taste honey have been very efficient and have grabbed the pupils’ attention. Some of them, who were tempted to drop out of school, have regained an interest in learning thanks to bee-related activities.
Bees are a crucial part of the ecosystem on Earth and their organism is very interesting to study, especially as part of biology programmes: the pollination process, the social organization of bees, honey production… For teachers, hives are a good teaching tool, both innovative and concrete, to draw the pupils’ attention to biodiversity. Urban beekeeping is also a lever to implement a comprehensive education programme in sustainability at school.
In 2015, ekodev set up 4 new beehives in Alfred Sisley in Île-Saint-Denis and Jean Moulin in Neuilly-Plaisance.