On my last day working for Science Gallery Dublin I coordinated a bee hotel workshop for three different 'green schools’ - schools actively working on sustainability and environmental projects - in collaboration with Trinity Access Programme and Trinity College Dublin School of Botany.
Bee hotels are safe places for solitary bees - species of bee who don't live in hives, and do their own thing instead - to nest and lay eggs at the end of summer, where they'll be safe throughout the winter until they hatch the following spring. There are many many species of solitary bee, and nowadays it's common to see bee hotels around the place. If you're thinking of making your own, there are actually a lot of things you need to take into consideration to make sure they'll function well (and don't accidentally kill the bees…). This is a great source I used in my research.
I ran this workshop with the help of two of my all-time favourite Makeshop team members - Kate Maloney and Louis O'Sullivan - a group of student teachers, and Science Gallery Research Coordinator Joanna Crispell. Armed with bamboo, logs with holes drilled in them (specially drilled to be around the right size for the bees), pine cones, and bamboo skewers, groups of primary school kids arranged the materials in frames made by Joanna and her husband Joe.
The kids also decorated their bee hotels (this part got quite competitive) and brought them back to their schools afterwards.