Category Archives: Bees

Green Schools: Biodiversity: Now it is Brigid’s turn to tell Polly all about Bees; the important job they do and how they are endangered.

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Polly the Polar Bear, has come to visit St. Brigid’s Greystones,

all the way from St. Peter’s in Bray.

She has come to visit Brigid the Biodiversity Bee

and has told her all about Polar Bears

and why they are endangered.

Now it is Brigid’s turn,

to tell Polly all about bees.

 

‘Well first, said Brigid,

‘it is important to know about the important job bees do:

Read all about the important job bees do HERE

You can read more about

that important job of pollinating flowers HERE.

Why are bees endangered?

Well you can find out the answer to this question

if you click on THIS LINK.

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‘We’ve done a lot of good work,’ said Polly.

I think it is time,

I thought about getting back to Bray…’

Watch out 2nd Class, St.Peter’s,

Polly the Polar Bear is

on her way back to you 🙂

 

 

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A Joint Project between St. Peter’s NS., Bray and St.Brigid’s NS., Greystones – Polly the Polar Bear and Brigid the Bee, tell us why their species are endangered.

But first the introductions:

Polly the Polar Bear is going to teach us

all about Polar Bears and how they are endangered.

Brigid, our Biodiversity Bee

is going to teach Polly all about bees

and why they are threatened.

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Come and visit the Pollination Station

On the top lobby on the back stairs there is a display about bees and pollination. We call it the Pollination Station.

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Included in the display is a pot of tulips. You can see the yellow pollen on the stamen.

The stigma is also very easy to see on the tulip flowers.

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If you would like to read what we have found out about bees click on this link

or put the words ‘bees’ or ‘pollination’ into the search box on the top right corner of this page.

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A Mystery: Why are there less bees in the world?

A ‘Bee’ Mystery

Galápagos interlude 2
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Max Westby via Compfight

In some parts of the world, for example

the USA,

the UK

and Ireland

honeybees are flying away from their hives and dying.

Empty hives are causing a lot of worry about some important food crops. Scientists are trying to figure out why bees are dying.

What makes this mystery really hard to solve is that bees are hard to study.

1. Most bees die away from the hive, so the scientists don’t have any dead bees to examine.

2. Bees have a natural life cycle and because if this when scientist return to a hive after even two weeks, about half the bees they studied on their first visit will be dead and they will be replaced by new ones.

3. Being a scientist detective is even trickier because, bees travel up to 3 kilometres away from their hive to find nectar from flowers. So that when bees become ill or poisoned, it is hard to know where the damage was done.

Scientists do have some ideas about what could be causing the bees to die.

1. They could be poisoned by insect sprays that people use to kill insects that are pests. Another name for these insect sprays are pesticides and insecticides.

2. We learned about overgrazing when we heard about what could happen if the Snow Leopard, for example disappeared from the food chain. See this link to find out. Overgrazing would mean the fields and meadows when the bees get their food would be destroyed.

3. Bees may not be getting enough food to be strong and healthy. This is also because the habitats where their food grows; meadows and fields and being taken over by building.

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Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Rick Harrison via Compfight

For example: Where we live around Greystones used be full of meadows, fields and forests. Now they are full of houses.

The hints that this happened are in the names of some of the estates.

1. So Heathervue was once a hillside covered in heather, whether the bees could collect nectar.

2. Perhaps there were cherry trees in Delgany before the houses in Cherry Glade  and Cherry Drive were built.

There are other reasons too, that scientists think that the number of bees is falling.

1. They think that tiny insects called mites feed on bees.

2. Others think that it is a virus or bacteria that is damaging the bee population.

Most of all it is important to protect the bee population because they pollinates so many plants that become food for the human race.

Bee the Bee!
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Danny Perez Photography via Compfight

Research by the students in fourth class.

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What we learned about Honey Bees!

Honey bees help plants to make the fruit, vegetables and nuts we like to eat, by carrying pollen from one plant or flower to the next. Important crops like oats, corn and wheat are pollinated by the wind. But many other plants like apple trees, depend on birds, bats and insects.

Bees don’t wake up each morning and set off to go pollinating plants and flowers. Their instinct it to collect nectar from the flowers. They feed this sweet liquid to the Queen Bee. Even though the pollinating that they do is a very important job for the world, the bees do it by accident.

This is how it happens: If you look at a bee close up, you will see that they have hairy legs and bodies. The pollen on the flowers stick to their hairy bodies. Here is a picture:

Bee on Dandelion
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Reinhold Stansich via Compfight

We have learned that our supermarket shelves would be empty of many of the fruits and vegetables that are available there, if it weren’t for bees. Click on this link to see a list of these.

As well as the fruit and vegetables that we eat, many of the animals that live on our farms, eat foods that bees pollinate. It is said that every third spoonful that we eat, we have thanks to the work of the honey bees.

Ms. Heneghan says that the almond farmers in California, pay bee keepers to bring their bee hives to California so that the bees will pollinate the almond trees. Honeybee pollination is so important that bee farmers actually truck their bees from orchard to orchard and farm to farm to help pollinate crops.

If there were no bees there would be no almonds. This job takes about six weeks and when the bees are finished they are sent to another part of the country to help with pollination there.

Sister Kathleen said, she knew a lady who used a small paintbrush to bring pollen from one apple tree to another, so that she would have enough apples in Autumn to make apple pies. There weren’t enough bees to do this where she lived.

Researched by Klaudia, Sinead, Zara and Sarah from Fourth Class

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A List of Fruit & Vegetables pollinated by bees.

We did some research today and found out which fruits and vegetables are pollinated by bees.

Vectored Vegetables
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Nancy Regan via Compfight

This is the list:

Fruit:

Apple,Blackberry, Blueberry, Cherry,  Grape Kiwi, Lemon, Lime, Peach, Pear, Plum, Raspberry, Strawberry, Watermelon,

Vegetables

Beans, Chilli Pepper, Onion, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrot, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumber, Red and Green Peppers, Tomatoes,

Other Important Crops

Sunflowers and Cotton (also Flax)

The Problem

There are less bees because of what people do.

People use insecticide to kill insects that are pests.

But insecticide kills bees too.

‘Overgrazing’ and building destroy the habitats where bees live.

 

We need bees, so that they can pollinate plants.

What would happen if there were no more bees?

Click here to see an interesting photograph!
Written and researched by Alexandra, Patrick, Stacey and Conor from 4th Class.

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Our Habitat Map 2013

On Wednesday 4th December, the Green Team ventured out into the yard armed with pencils and a map of the school grounds to make our Habitat Map.

The weather was sunny but cold (approx 6 degrees C).

We made a Habitat Map when we first started our Green theme on Biodiversity in Novemeber 2012 so our aim was to indicate on our new map all the hard work we have done to improve the Biodiversity around the school. For example, we noted all the new bird feeders, bird boxes, insect homes, leaf  and log piles we set up. We also listed the new raised beds with our vegetable, wildflower and scented flower patches. We also needed to update our map to show the changes to the school grounds because of the building work e.g. moving the bins, relocate the bird feeding station, moving the log pile, etc.

Stay tuned for our new map which will be displayed on the Green schools noticeboard.

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What exactly does are Biodiversity Code mean?

The winning entry

The winning entry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t let species go extinct, in this world we are all linked’.

 

The Green Schools committee had a meeting to discuss what exactly our Biodiversity code meant because we need to be able to explain to our classmates and our families what it is all about.

Rory said that ‘species’ means any kind of plant or animal. Examples of species we thought of were daffodil, tulip, fox, wolf, dog, ladybird, spider, etc.

Louie explained that ‘extinct‘ means wiped out. We tried to think of species that are under threat of extinction. Emma said Pandas, Julia said Ladybirds, Ed said Red Deer and Zac said Red Squirrels.

So what could be a threat to these species? A lot of the committee said that introduced species or non-native species were a threat because they were stronger and they ate the native’s species food or pushed them out of their habitats eg. Grey squirrels vs. red squirrels, Sika deer vs. Red deer.

Julia and Zac said that damage to a species habitat or home can be a threat. If you cut down trees or hedgerows you destroy their habitats and ecosystems.

We all agreed that pollution and litter were a big threat and we remembered the day we talked about Peanut the turtle. We also looked at how litter can end up in the sea and harm seals, whales, turtles and fish. But pollution and litter not only harms the plants and animals, it can destroy their habitats and ecosystems eg. pollution in lakes and rivers.

What other threats can you think of ?

So our next quest was to find out how we are all linked. Fiona explained all about food chains and food webs. She told us what would happen if for example bees became extinct and explained that losing bees would affect the  flowers and crops. This would mean less food for the animals and less food for us. This was one example of how we are all linked together.

Can you think of any others?

Our next discussion will be to see what we can do to help conserve biodiversity at home & at school, in our home town and county, in our country and worldwide!

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The best flowers to attract bees!

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Researchers in Sussex University have used an experimental garden to put pollinator-friendly plants to the test.

They found that borage, lavender, marjoram and open-flower dahlias were very good for insects.

The wallflower was also very attractive to pollinators, while the least attractive flowering plant for insects was the geranium.

Marjoram was probably the best “all-rounder”, attracting honey bees, bumble bees, other bees, hover flies, and butterflies.

Borage was the best for honey bees and lavender and open-flowered dahlias were most attractive to bumblebees.

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Brigid!

for Biodiversity Bee

R for Repair, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle 

for Insects

for our Garden

for Increase diversity

D for Develop awareness of how our actions affect our Environment

 

What does BRIGID our Biodiversity Bee mean to you??

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We have a name for Our Biodiversity mascot!

Thanks to all the students for their suggestions for a name for our Biodiversity Bee.

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We got some great names like Polly the pollinator (Aoibhe from 2nd class) and Buzzy was very popular but we decided on ……….

BRIGID

and this was suggested by Heather from 5th class. Well done Heather! There will be a small prize for you :-).

So Brigid the Biodiversity Bee it is.

Keep an eye out for her as she buzzes from class to class looking for any work on nature and the environment.

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Learning about the ‘Busy Bees’

Busy Bees
Photo Credit: Vince LoPresti via Compfight
We here in St. Brigid’s, Greystones

are working towards our 5th Green Flag.

We are learning about Biodiversity.

 

As part of this we are learning about

the importance of bees

and pollination.

 

If you would like to learn about

how pollination happens

and about bees

and other pollinators,

here are some interesting links:

 

1. A short introduction 

Pollination for Kids and Teachers

from ‘Pollination Canada’

 

2. A colourful and eye catching explanation

of pollination and pollinators from

Kids Growing Strong.org

 

3. A more detailed account can be found

on the US Forestry site:

Our Future Flies on the Wings of Pollinators.

 

We are busy learning about bees.

 

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Bees and Other Pollinators – Links to two short videos

Honey Bee Macro
Photo Credit: Karunakar Rayker via Compfight
 

As part of learning about Biodiversity

for our 5th Green Flag, we are learning 

about bees and pollination.

 

Here are two videos on Vimeo.

about bees and other pollinators.

This first one is a very short animation

from Oxford University Press.

This clever animation is by Mark Ruffle

and is about bee pollination:

Pollination: Science Animation

 

This second video is less just over seven minutes long.

Introduced by filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg

the real life film footage begins after three minutes.

Though inspired by the vanishing of the honeybee,

the high speed camera work also features pollinators

such as the hummingbird, butterflies and bats.

‘The Hidden Beauty of Pollination’.

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Our Biodiversity Mascot!

Meet our Biodiversity mascot – Biodiversity Bee!

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As we all know, bees are very important for Biodiversity. They pollinate flowers, plants and crops and without them this world would be a very different place. So with this in mind, we chose to have a bee as our mascot.

She will be visiting every classroom to see what ‘green’ work you have been doing. Please take a photo of your work with Biodiversity Bee and let us see all your great work.

Now all we have to do is name our Biodiversity Bee! What do YOU think she should be called??

 

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Bees are gardeners too!

I was sitting in my garden having my lunch when a bee landed on the rosemary bush beside me. I watched it as it landed on each flower drinking the nectar and collecting the pollen. I wasn’t worried about being stung as we all know that bees will only sting you if provoked and then only as a last resort. I was quite fascinated by this busy little bee when I noticed that a few flowers were falling off the bush and on to my mobile phone. After further inspection I realised that the clever little bee was removing the dead flowers from the bush!! How amazing us that! I never knew bees were gardeners too 🙂

What interesting things have you seen in your garden?

 

 

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Our Biodiversity Action Day!

 

 

A BIG thank you to everyone who helped out at our Biodiversity Action day!

Have a look at what we achieved:

  1. We planted a Vegetable garden with Beetroot, Cabbage, Spring onions, Leeks and Broad beans. We sewed Lettuce and Carrot seeds. We also planted Marigolds and Layia seeds as these flowers are supposed to be beneficial to vegetables and ward off  nasty bugs.
  2. We planted Raspberry and Strawberry plants for our Fruit garden.
  3. We created a Scented garden to attract butterflies, bees and insects. This contained Lavender, Sweet pea, Marigold, Lobellia, Daisies, Phlox, Convulvulous, Crocosmia and Sunflowers.
  4. Our Wildflower patch was full of native Irish wildflowers – Yarrow, Wild strawberry, Primrose, Bluebells, Ox-eye daisy, Field scabious, Honeysuckle, Selfheal, Devils bit scabious and Sheeps bit. We also put down some wildflower seeds.
  5. We relocated our Bird feeding station as this had to be moved because of building work at the school.
  6. We put up a Bird box. We choose a Blue Tit box which we got from BirdWatch Ireland.
  7. We put up a Bee home.
  8. We put up a Butterfly and Lacewing box.
  9. We put up a wooden Peanut feeder donated to us by CJ Wildlife.
  10. We set up a log pile for our Insect hotel.

Thanks to Alex and Emma from Kilquade Garden Centre  for all their advice on what vegetables and plants to put down. Also to Declan in BirdWatch Ireland for  his advice on bird and wildlife boxes. Thanks also to Future Forests and Mary Ann for help with the native Irish wildflowers and to the Irish Wildlife Trust for pointing us in the right direction. Thanks to CJ Wildlife who donated a wooden bird feeder plus peanut butter bird feed. Finally thank you and well done to all the volunteers, parents, siblings and the green school committee for all your great work.

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Good news for bees!

Bee-harming pesticides banned in Europe

Europe will enforce the world’s first continent-wide ban on widely used insecticides linked to serious harm in bees.

Bees and other insects are vital for global food production as they pollinate three-quarters of all crops. The plummeting numbers of pollinators in recent years has been blamed on disease, loss of habitat and, increasingly, the use of neonicotinoid pesticides. A series of scientific studies has linked neonicotinoids – the world’s most widely used insecticides – to huge losses in the number of queens produced and big increases in “disappeared” bees, those that fail to return from foraging trips.

For more information and to read this full article from the Guardian go to http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/apr/29/bee-harming-pesticides-banned-europe

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Movies and Biodiversity!

Did you know that some movies can teach us about Biodiversity? The Bee Movie and The Lorax  are all about biodiversity.

In The Bee movie, we learn the importance of bees as pollinators and that without them we would have no flowers or plants and how this would affect the whole food chain.

 

 

 

 

In The Lorax, we learn that not only do trees provide habitats for many species (birds, squirrels, insects, etc),  they also produce oxygen which is essential for life on earth.

 

 

 

Have you seen these movies? Did you learn anything new from them about the environment? Do you know of any other movies that teach us about Biodiversity?

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