When VCAL student, Jonathan Short, began his Year 11 studies at BSSC, bees and beekeeping were not topics he’d given a lot of thought to. But since his PDWRS Head Start class became involved with   ‘Bees with Backpacks’ (a joint project of the CSIRO and Bendigo Tech School), his interest in the plight of the humble honey bee has grown week by week.

The program looks at the importance of honeybees in maintaining biodiversity across the world and explores the issues behind the decline of bee populations over the past five decades. It concludes with students designing a local habitat to increase bee activity.

Jonathan found it particularly interesting to learn how beekeepers acquire a new queen for their hive.

“Queen bees are available online,” he said. “The queen is sent in a small container accompanied by worker bees and a small amount of sugar syrup. It’s just sent through the normal post and delivered to your door.”

Last week Jonathon took part in an online Immersion Session where he heard from CSIRO experts, environmental speakers, and where students like himself had the opportunity to ask questions.

“It was a great way to learn some more information from experts that I can bring to our class project,” he said. “It was really helpful to hear the answers to questions asked by the other students.”

While the project is a great learning curve, Jonathon is disappointed to be back learning remotely.

“You just don’t have the same level of support as when the teachers are right there in front of you,” he said. “The main thing I miss about face-to-face learning is being with friends. It makes the learning environment more fun.”