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Halifax youth learning to care for bees in new social enterprise project

WATCH: Halifax youth learning to care for bees in new social enterprise project. Natasha Pace reports.

Over the last few months, youth in Spryfield, N.S., have had the opportunity to get up close and personal with tens of thousands of bees.

It’s all part of a social enterprise project called BEEA Honey with Heart, designed to get local children involved with beehives.

“They learn about the structure in the hive,” said Barry Yhard, beekeeper with Abbigail Honey.

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“A beehive is structured exactly the same as our society. You can name a worker in our society and there’s probably one inside the bee hive. So there’s sanitation workers, there’s nurse bees, there’s feeders. It’s actually quite complex inside. Most people when they look inside the hive, they don’t know what’s going on, so we teach the kids.”

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Although the situation is getting better, Yhard says honeybees have been struggling for some time.

He says by domesticating the honeybee and managing their hives for them, they have a better chance of survival.

READ MORE: Planting bee-friendly gardens can help bee populations in southern Alberta

Saturday, volunteers helped the project by building a bee garden next to the hives.

“The flowers are designed to give the bees something to eat. So we’re planting bee-specific flowers, like marigold,” said Yhard.

“Things that the bees like to get their nectar and pollen from and that’s how they make their honey.”

The children taking part in the project are from Family SOS. The group says these types of projects help teach young people teamwork.

“They see the buzz around the garden and everybody wants to be part of it,” said Donna Morrison, executive director for Family SOS.

“So, the benefits are one, they’re doing something right in their community. They’re learning again about the global issues on bees and how important bees are in our community and then they’re learning life skills, that you have to work hard in order to benefit in the end.”

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Some of the volunteers on hand for the event were Telus employees, who, besides donating to the project, are attempting to volunteer one million hours in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday.

Besides learning how to care for bees, the project will also teach children the basic principles of business. That’s because the honey produced will be marketed and sold in the near future.

“Bees are cool. I like bees and the garden is important because bees need plants to create honey and stuff,” said Brandon Cooper, a Grade 8 student.

“It’s technically work experience because we’re going to be selling stuff, and bees are important to the world. They’re the reason a lot of the crops are pollinated nowadays.”

All of the money raised from the project will go back into the program and help provide scholarships for local children.

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