Pro bee in Stuttgart: So that children learn to appreciate bees – Möhringen

Pro Biene brings children and young people closer to the world of bees and beekeeping in various projects. Photo: Benedikt Adler / Pro Biene


Pro Biene, the independent institute for environmental education based in Stuttgart-Möringen, introduces children and young people to the topic of honeybees. The beekeeper explains why this is important.

Starting with children and young people is what Sebastian Henschel calls sustainable. Because what you know, you can learn to value – and protect. “We also want to inspire young people who have little contact with nature in everyday life,” says the beekeeper.

Currently, bee deaths are such a big problem, Hentschel says, that he wished he had had more of a naturalistic upbringing as a child. He and colleagues from Pro Biene, the free ecological beekeeping institute, are trying to do just that. The question of the importance of bees as pollinators is just one of the many questions they want to bring closer to the young. “Imagine the breakfast table. What wouldn’t be on the table if there were no bees? Perhaps honey is the obvious answer. But many types of fruits and some types of vegetables such as cucumbers would not exist if the plants were not pollinated by bees or other insects.

Learn about the work of a beekeeper

The focus of Pro-Biene projects is on honeybees. Beekeeping began in the region in February in cooperation with Haus 49, the district center in Stuttgart-Nord. The project targets children, adolescents and young adults between the ages of 10 and 20 and is scheduled to run for two years. In March, participants built beehives, as beehives are called. The educator says that practical education, so to speak, is very important for children. They see, feel, and really understand what’s important. There is no honey in the first year of the project. The first year is about observing the young bees and getting to know the work of the beekeeper. In the second year, the bee colony becomes an economic colony, then we can also harvest honey,” says Henschel.

Read from our show: How to help vulnerable bees

Through “Bee Visiting,” Pro Biene members bring educational materials to schools and daycares, from information flyers to blank honeycombs. At Hohewart School, Pro Biene accompanies a school working group, and students bring their own bees there, “moving in April,” Heintschel says.



Are children not afraid of bees?

Of course, there are fears, too, among children – and among parents. A bee sting is a painful weapon after all. However, they do not use them lightly, but only in cases of absolute threat, for example if they are crushed by hand, explains the expert. It’s clear beforehand if children have allergies, Henchell says. “And no child goes to the bees without a protective veil.”

Read from our show: A difficult journey is not enough nectar

In general, curiosity is greater than fear, Hannah Coleman reports. She is currently doing a Voluntary Ecological Year (FÖJ) in Pro Biene, among other things, she visits day care centers and primary schools with “Bee to visit” and goes with kindergarten children to a meadow grove in Rohrer Weg, where the independent institute has hives. “At first, they often ask ‘can’t bees sting,'” says Coleman, “but kids quickly gain confidence, and are curious and open-minded.”

Read from our show: Nature Conservation vs. Agriculture

What about wild bees? Isn’t it also important for a healthy environment? What does Pro Biene do for wild bees? Sebastian Henschel emphasizes that wild bees are unforgettable. They build hotels for wild bees, for example, in cooperation with Haus 49. The information materials that the Institute sends free of charge to day care centers and primary schools is not only about honeybees. The seed bags distributed by Pro Biene contain seeds from which flowers grow, which wild bees also love. Henchell says there are other things currently being developed.

How mobile phones can help bring children closer to nature

The environmental education that can be offered at Pro Biene is the perfect blend of the careers acquired for teacher and geologist. “I want to do something that’s meaningful,” Henchel says of his motivation. He thinks about how to introduce young people to nature and the environment and specifically bees, how to make topics attractive to them, and how to get young people excited about it in the long run. “One factor that shouldn’t be tarnished is the mobile phone,” Henchell says. App-controlled scavenger hunts are an example of how young people are excited about these topics, as are apps that help, for example, identify plants. “The fun factor and the nature factor can be combined in this way.”

Education for sustainable development

discrimination
In December 2021, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the German Commission for UNESCO awarded Pro Biene the National Prize – Education for Sustainable Development (BNE) in the new UNESCO program “BNE 2030”. According to a press release, Pro Biene convinced the jury with an exemplary commitment to education for sustainable development and a specific commitment to the United Nations’ global sustainability goals. Now in the spring, Pro Biene starts two new projects for sustainable development: beekeeping in the region as part of the Open Action for Children and Youth in Stuttgart-Nord, funded by the Fund for the Future of Youth in Stuttgart, and the Children’s Foundation. Beekeeping in Stuttgart, funded by the “Sustainable Learning” program by the Baden-Württemberg Foundation and the Heidhof Foundation.

FOJ
Starting in September, Pro Biene will once again offer a voluntary environmental year option. Anyone interested can apply directly to the state’s Center for Civic Education. The direct link is www.foej-bw.de/es/probiene. More information about the institute is available online at www.probiene.de.

Leave a Comment