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Pointe-Claire high school’s ‘green team’ buzzing with excitement over final product

John Rennie High School in Pointe-Claire has two beehives on the school's property. Courtesy: John Rennie High School

John Rennie’s “green team” is buzzing around the cooking room. Students are in the final stages of their beekeeping project, measuring and melting their very own honey and wax, to make lip balm.

“When I heard that John Rennie did beekeeping, I assume you just be watching a teacher do it or just getting to see how it was done. But I didn’t realize that we’d actually be going into the hives and taking out the honey and stuff, which was really fun,” said secondary 1 student Chase Racine.

It all started this past spring, when the curricular club donned protective gear to do some hands on learning with the high school’s seven-year-old colony of bees.

“For kids, beekeeping is great because it helps them to focus on a task when there’s a lot of distractions and at school I guess it’s something that’s very useful for them,” said John Rennie teacher Jean-Francois Pepin.

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The two hives are now wrapped for the winter, its population hovering around 20,000. The number won’t fly back up until next spring.

“Usually it’ll start off with maybe 10 or 15,000 bees in the spring, it’ll get up to 60 to 80,000 during the summertime,” Pepin told Global News.

There’s certainly no melissophobia — or a fear of bees — here. Students are involved in every step of the project.

“We used measures to make it safer for us, like using steam hot air to make them calmer, which helped a lot. So it wasn’t really something that made us scared,” said secondary 1 student Maggie Castelli.

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The teenagers say during each step they learned the importance of saving bees from extinction.

“Not only do they produce honey and lip balm, they also help us with our vegetation, the flowers, all that kind of stuff,” said Castelli.

The green team is now waiting for their beeswax lip balm to cool, then sell at the school store. However before it’s even dry, students are already a-buzz with ideas to start their own beehive.

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“I’d like to get some bees at our house, but you never know,” said Racine.

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