Guest post by Cilla Platt, Education Officer

This is the first time of writing this.  It doesn’t mean to say that the Beginner Beekeeper’s course hasn’t been going for many years!

Setting up each Course usually starts from the time of the Agricultural Shows.

Paper “signing up” forms are left on a table in the Beekeepers Tent. These get filled in with varying quality of hand writing!

ed-officer-at-deskI then spend many happy evenings deciding what peoples email addresses are, with my husband as moderator.

I send off a mail to what I think is the right addresses, then deal with all the returned Unable to Send, and try again and again and again!

Those who join on line by filling in the form on our Education web page are a breath of fresh air!

Next comes finding a venue for the course.  It always used to be Knockaloe as the classroom cost nothing.

It now costs £30 per evening.

Cost is important as we don’t charge more than will cover the cost of the venue and making each attendee a member of their Local Association.  Plus the usual photocopying.

The lecturers get a small sum to pay for petrol, and the makings of the evenings refreshments. They do not get paid for their time, or expertise.

We then add a little bit so that people feel they need to turn up, and we do not talk to thin air.  This goes into the coffers of the Federation, to pay for visiting educational speakers.

The Venue is now decided on by cost and how many students we will need to cover that cost.  This can (and has this year) meant trawling venues by phone and car to suss their suitability, cost and centralness.ed-off-off-to-lectures

Booking needs to be done which means talking to my lecturing team to decide day of week and evenings per month.  Sometimes I do an online vote with the potential punters.  Not this year.  That decided and compared with what the venue can offer,  I BOOK, whoopee!! Phew!!

The students are told the date of the first evening when they can come and pay and we get started.

Evening one, is run by me and a helpful maths literate volunteer. (I am not maths literate as my hubby and our Southern Treasurer will tell you)

Once they have paid, they get to know the other dates!

I also get booked to talk to adult groups at Probus, WI, and Museum. I have four sessions booked so far.

I have a great help from Mark Ralph, who talks of bees to Brownies and Cubs.

Whilst all this is going on I talk to Primary Schools.

Years ago I visited a few schools with Ian Qualtrough. What a delight!

So far this year I have spoken to 22 classes of up to 30 in a class.

There are seven more schools booked, and like the afore mentioned, some with several classes sitting together for a talk.

I offer two talks.  The Story of Bees and Flowers and Bees. Which I am continually honing.

The teacher chooses.

I send out an invitation to all the Primary and Secondary Schools on the Island.

Last year I talked to any age group.  This year I have refined it to years 5, 6, 7.ed-off-waggle-dance-demo

They are more retentive than the Littlies.

I first hear from the teachers which takes, on average, four or five emails each.

I sort out a program where I talk to two schools near each other in one day.

I then do it. I do not get paid.

Why do it? I love it!

I want as many people as possible on the Island to know a bit about bees.

I always encourage the growing of flowers. I tell them about the danger to our bees of Varroa and honey born diseases. How it is illegal to import bees, and why.

The children are lovely and ask extraordinary questions.

If I get to all the schools that have booked this year, I will have talked to about 1,000 children.

My day was made the other day when a little girl said at the end of one of the talks: “I knew nothing about bees before you came.  I now want to be a bee keeper when I grow up!”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *