The Whole Kids Foundation, in partnership with The Bee Cause Project, has awarded the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts (LSMSA) an equipment grant for an indoor beehive on the school’s campus. Caroline Adkins (’19), aided by faculty members Lecturer of Biology Dr. Margaret Hodge, Lecturer of Biology Dr. Jason Anderson and Associate Lecturer of History Dr. Kyle Stephens, spearheaded the effort to bring the hive onto campus.
“My family has bees, and because of that I got really interested in whether or not a beehive was something we could maintain at school,” said Adkins. “I looked up some information, ran into some options and came across The Bee Cause Project. I thought it could be something that could work out for us here at LSMSA.” Adkins, alongside fellow officers Madison Latiolais (’19) and Emma Istre (’19), founded and currently serves as president of the school’s new Bee Club, which will work to maintain the hive.
“My overall goal is to get people to understand how important bees are to us, in this community and also the world,” expressed Adkins. “I want them to stop thinking of bees as ‘scary, stingy things’ and start looking at them as creatures that we really rely on here on earth. Two-thirds of what we have in the grocery store would just go ‘Poof!’ if we didn’t have bees.” The hive, made of plexi-glass and wood, will be housed in the back corner of Hodge’s research lab.
A large frame will be mounted to the wall, and bees can move freely in-and-out of the facility through a pipe that leads directly outside. The structure will sit on a large extending arm that swivels, allowing for easy observation on all sides. Hodge and other Science Department faculty are enthusiastic about the hive’s arrival and feel that it will serve as a great teaching tool for various classes.
“I teach Animal Behavior, and we talk about the habits of honeybees,” said Hodge. “They have this dance language that they use to communicate the location of food. The observation hive will allow for us to inspect these mannerisms and see these behaviors directly rather than watch it on a video. To see it in real life offers more of an impact.” The grant also included beekeeper gear and educational materials to use in classroom instruction and outreach.
“This will be a great opportunity for our school to engage with other nearby schools,” said Hodge. “I know that teachers from local elementary and middle schools would be interested in bringing their students here to observe the hive, and it offers our students here an opportunity to teach, provide outreach and become role models for younger students.” “I have total confidence in the Science Department, in the work they do and for the protection of our students,” said Executive Director Dr. Steve Horton. “I know the faculty have a good handle on it and know that if we need to get resources to help make the project work, we can.” Adkins expressed appreciation toward fellow club members, faculty and staff for helping her see the project through to fruition. Participating staff and faculty members praised her leadership and ambition while executing the project. “I’m just really impressed with Caroline,” said Hodge. “It’s taken so much initiative and time.
She wrote the grant proposal. With permission from faculty and mentors, she went around talking to administration to get support. She did a lot!” Since the Bee Cause Project’s inception, the organization has provided hives to 300 schools in a majority of states and territories across the United States. LSMSA will be one of three schools in Louisiana to provide an indoor hive. While the equipment is already on campus, the bees are not expected to arrive until later this spring.