Honey bees find a home on campus

May 3, 2022

Donnelly Hall welcomed new residents this spring. Thanks to the efforts of six seniors and their science instructor, residents of two beehives now call the roof of Donnelly Hall home.

During this year’s Interim Week, STA science teacher Sarah Holmes and six seniors decided to spend their time learning about bees. On the first day of the interim course, Holmes, who has her own beehive, brought in dead bees for the students to study. One bee, though, wasn’t dead. “It was cold-stunned,” says Holmes. “It started crawling around. Initially, the girls were scared of it, but when they realized the bee didn’t perceive them as a threat and wasn’t aggressive, everything changed. The girls walked away interested in and unafraid of bees.” Holmes calls this “something you can’t plan for in teaching.”

At the completion of their interim course, which included a visit to MO Hives KC and learning about bees’ contributions to the environment, the girls were inspired to start an apiary (bee house) on campus. They created a proposal, which included research and recommendations on the apiary location, potential marketing ideas, funding sources, safety and accessibility considerations, and curricular connections.

After close consideration, STA administration wholeheartedly supported the proposal. According to Holmes, it is the only school in the area with an apiary. “The girls’ vision is that this will serve as a model for other schools so the benefits of bees can be enjoyed by the greater community,” says Holmes.

The STA Bug Club is excited about the plan. They plan to install a pollinator garden on campus this year to provide the bees a close food source and give students a hands-on educational experience with native plants and pollinators. The apiary and pollinator garden also will provide opportunities for student service hours.

Apiary students

Six STA seniors (Class of 2022), donned in bee suits, created a comprehensive proposal for a campus-based apiary. Pictured (l to r): Emma V., Josie W., Sanai K., Emma J. and Amelia A. Not pictured: Macie E.