Bee4Education: learning to protect biodiversity with bees
Protecting biodiversity is an integral part of our strategy. We have been at the forefront of safeguarding biological diversity for some time, promoting a number of projects to monitor and protect the habitats necessary for various animal and plant species that help counteract one of the negative effects of climate change.
A natural way to monitor an area’s vitality is to check for the presence of insect pollinators, such as bees, which play an important role in plant reproduction: recording their activity allows us to measure the “state of health” of the territory where they live, also to protect its biodiversity. This is the idea behind the Bee4Education pilot project launched at the Center for Education and Training (Centro di Formazione e Addestramento, CFA) in L’Aquila, which aims to promote education and training opportunities about sustainability for children between 6 and 18 years of age. The project, conducted with research institutes and universities, is carried out in collaboration with Beeing, the startup that created an innovative transparent hive called B-BOX, which allows people to safely observe the complex world of bees without disturbing them. These hives are also equipped with sensors to monitor insect health remotely.
“Science teaches us how bees and other insect pollinators are essential for the reproduction of plants and for the survival of many species on Earth, but they also play a role as sentinels of environmental health,” comments Filippo Rodriguez, Head of Sustainability. “We are proud to have brought to life this project, which hinges on high-quality education in line with the United Nations’ fourth Sustainable Development Goal.”
The initiative was designed for elementary, middle, and high schools in the L’Aquila area (engaging a total of about 250 students), and it led to the installation of an apiary at CFA with five hives, including two transparent B-BOXES. And there’s more: new plants will be added to the area with the aim of increasing the availability of fresh flowers for the bees.
From May 10 to the end of October, four days of training will be held for local schools to raise awareness about biodiversity among youths and to spark their interest in the world of insect pollinators, revealing their key role in the natural system.
The initiative also has a much bigger scope: it strives to be an opportunity for students to live an immersive experience that also revolves around issues tied to energy, such as the energy transition, renewable sources, and smart grids – stimulating especially older students to look at green jobs with more interest and curiosity for their professional future.
The training’s structure includes a theoretical part in the classroom and a practical part in which students can observe the hard-working insects up close and understand their role in the natural ecosystem.
To complete the initiative, honey samples will be regularly taken and analyzed in a lab to verify the quality of the air in the bees’ environment.
The project could lead in the future to the installation of apiaries in other locations owned by our Group in many Italian regions, offering local schools the chance to take part in the training activities. Further important developments are tied to biodiversity enrichment with the installation of hives and insect nests (monitored remotely via digital sensors) and through agreements with partners and local organizations to build urban hives that can directly engage citizens, also contributing to the development of initiatives to boost sustainable tourism.