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Save the bees! Grade 5 students advocate for declining bee population

WATCH ABOVE: Grade 5 class in Mississauga working hard to protect bee population

MISSISSAUGA – A Grade 5 class at Munden Park Public School has been working hard to protect the diminishing bee population.

It all started last September, when a honey bee flew into the class portable, terrifying the students.

“It was just complete hysterics –mass hysteria on every level,” said teacher Sandra Kirkby.

In an attempt to calm her students down, Kirkby suggested that they adopt the bee as their class pet.

“So then after we had our class pet, a lunch supervisor was there,” said Arsh Kadri, a Grade 5 student. “She thought we were afraid of it, so she got a box and whacked it.”

The children decided to have a funeral for their pet bee, and that’s when their passion for this popular pollinator started to grow. Kirkby, seeing a learning opportunity, began to incorporate bees into every part of the school’s curriculum.

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“It’s such a rich subject, such a rich insect,” said Kirkby. “If you want to talk about geometry and the tessellated hexagons of hives, or the fact that honey can be both a solid and a liquid in science, or even molecules are organized as hexagons as well.”

Jessica Rhind, president of the Brampton Beekeepers’ Association, was invited to the class to teach them about bees. According to Rhind, it was in 2005 that it became clear that the bee population was declining.

“Pollinators are incredibly important,” said Rhind. “If you walk into a supermarket, I would say about sixty per cent of everything, especially the fresh produce that you buy, has been pollinated at some point.”

“It’s scary,” said Grade 5 student Robyn Grix. “Sarah Red-Laird, the U.S. ambassador for bees, she told us this: no bees equals no flowers.”

So what can we do?

“Three steps: plant flowers, get involved with your government, and buy seeds or food from your local gardener,” said Kadri.

“I know they’re making a difference,” said Kirkby. “They use the word ‘activism.’ They use the word ‘advocate.’ They know what it means to have their voices heard, and that’s meaningful.”