Supported by the Connecting Classrooms programme, schools in the UK and Nepal have taken their beekeeping efforts global.
Over the last 30 years, students at Cardinal Allen Catholic High School near Blackpool, UK, have turned their school into one of the most biodiverse areas in town. They’ve planted roughly 4,000 trees, a wildflower meadow, allotments, and created an environmental corridor.
Most recently they’ve turned their attention to bees, a rapidly declining species that plays a vital role in global food security. Students created bee-friendly habitats around the school and installed four beehives housing more than 200,000 bees. To help fund the project, they launched a website selling honey and wax.
Cardinal Allen has since paired with Galaxy Public School in Kathmandu, Nepal, to explore a new perspective on the climate crisis.
Galaxy installed two beehives of its own and is working with Cardinal Allen to make its school grounds more bee-friendly.
‘Whereas Cardinal Allen is surrounded by extensive green space, our school is in the middle of the city,’ explains Surina Gurung, Galaxy’s principal. ‘When the bees failed to produce honey, Cardinal Allen students encouraged us to look more closely at the surrounding environment.’
The two schools also share conversations and ideas about protecting bees, sustainable food production and healthy ecosystems. For Andy Harding, community co-ordinator at Cardinal Allen, the partnership is a great example of how people and countries can work together to solve global challenges.
‘We’ve put a lot of time and effort into cultivating an interest in environment and climate issues among our students and helping them to understand that this doesn’t just affect them –it’s a worldwide issue,’ he says. ‘As soon as you've harnessed students’ self-belief and aspiration, it takes over the project and carries it on.’
This partnership was supported by Connecting Classrooms (2018–22), funded by the British Council and UK aid.
‘Despite our different settings, we’ve learned that we have more in common in terms of climate and environmental threats than we thought.’
Andy Harding, Cardinal Allen Catholic High School