King Edwin Primary School is buzzing!

King Edwin Primary School in Edwinstowe, Nottinghamshire, is now a hive of excitement thanks to

Linda and Ray Heywood from Edwinstowe House based local horticultural nursery, Echium World.

By launching the ‘Hive 5 Project’ they hope to spread the word about the importance of bees and pollinators in our environment by using spectacular Giant Tree Echiums to engage and ignite both the children’s and parent’s interest.

Linda states “We couldn’t believe the reaction of over 200 children (age from 5 to 10 years) attentively mesmerised at our presentation in the school assembly to launch the’ Hive 5 Bee Project, recently. Our idea was to ask the children to help with the design and artwork of our authentic WBC beehive that will feature on our Echium exhibit at the Plant Heritage zone inside the floral marquee at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in July. We were overwhelmed and moved by their enthusiasm and the excitement they showed to become involved, especially when the beehive was unveiled from under a cover, like a magic trick!.”

Hands went up, a hundred questions were asked (several were answered!) and the children couldn’t get enough of the exciting project idea and as they left the assembly hall they all gave the ‘Hive 5’ salute!

The core design team was chosen by the school Arts Co-ordinator, Mrs Merrygold, who spearheads the project supported by the Head teacher and all staff. Many of the children will have the opportunity to be involved in other project activities including learning about bees and beekeeping from a visit by Nottinghamshire Beekeeping Association expert, Penny Forsyth. A visit to the Echium Garden at Edwinstowe House is also planned where they will view the amazing giant tree Echiums as part of the National Collection of Echium on public display in May and June.

Research, drawing and painting all feature in the learning experience (Key Stage 1 & 2) with the youngest in the group being a mere 5 years old.

“The excitement in the classroom is electric” states Ray. “It’s unbelievable the enthusiasm shown by the children. One boy in today’s session wouldn’t leave until he’d finished his artwork and rushed out to show his mum and tell her about the bees. We can’t wait to see the designs transferred to the beehive when the painting starts in April”

The aim of the Hive 5 Project is to teach the children and wider community about the importance of bees. So far the beehive is proving to be the honey pot of learning for these children, the world’s future caretakers of our environment.

Further information about growing Echium plants can be found at www.echiumworld.co.uk