Warrawong High School has been buzzing with action as students learn first-hand about the importance of bees in the natural environment.
The school received funding from the NSW Ports Community Grants program to acquire native bees, hives and native plants, and will be holding educational workshops for students.
The Bee Diversity Project aims to teach students about native bees, food production and how to live more sustainably.
Warrawong High School teacher Katherine Elphick said the project was part of a formal inquiry-based learning unit but was also a fun way for students to engage with environmental issues.
“This project is helping our students learn about the recent decline of bee populations globally, but it’s importantly also giving them the chance to make a positive sustainable change in our own school environment and permaculture garden to help reverse this issue,” she said.
“I thank NSW Ports for its community grant that’s expanded our thriving permaculture garden, which brings so many health and learning benefits to our students, teachers and staff.”
The school’s permaculture coordinator Aaron Sorensen said the school was grateful for the opportunity to expand its living classroom.
“We’re incredibly proud of our innovative living classroom – it’s a wonderful lighthouse to other educational institutions who are encouraged to build or expand their own programs too,” he said.
The Community Grants program supports a variety of groups in community participation, community infrastructure, the environment and sustainability.
NSW Ports CEO Marika Calfas said the program was one way in which the business was able to give back to Illawarra communities while supporting positive environmental initiatives.
“Warrawong High School was one of 17 groups to benefit from our 2022 grants program, which supported diverse, meaningful projects in the local communities around our ports and intermodal terminals,” Ms Calfas said.
“Port Kembla has a deep connection to the Illawarra that’s endured for almost 125 years, and it continues to be a major employer for the region.
“Our local community therefore plays an integral role in maintaining port operations that contribute so much to the state and the nation.
“Our business is proud to partner with our local schools and I commend the teachers and staff at Warrawong High who’ve supported this creative learning opportunity for their school community.”
“Warrawong High has been a hive of activity – welcoming native bees and foraging plants while conducting workshops with students and teachers to hear from a specialist on how to care for the bees and incorporate them into their broader permaculture garden,” Ms Calfas said.