DJRFF launches bees project for schools

The David and Jane Richards Family Foundation is launching a new schools initiative to spread awareness of the plight of bees and help children learn about nature and ecology.

The registered charity is helping to fund an apiary at Wisewood Community Primary School in Sheffield.

It is believed to be the first school in the South Yorkshire city to have beehives and a colony of bees on site.

Wisewood will host a ceremony today (July 11) to welcome the bees to the state school, which is part of the Tapton School Academy Trust.

Children will learn about beekeeping as part of the science curriculum.

The Richards are passionate about protecting the bee population and see beekeeping as a valuable way of introducing children to a wide range of interesting, useful and important subjects.

Mr Richards said: “The aggressive use of pesticides is decimating the population of bees.

“We need a healthy bee population for food security, sustainable farming, biodiversity and environmental protection.

“Our goal is to make more people aware of the threat to their extinction and the devastating effect this would have on the balance of our ecosystem.”

The David and Jane Richards Family Foundation provided funding for the bees and essential items including beekeeping suits for children and adults, smokers, gloves, honey buckets, strainers, jars and tools.

The Sheffield Beekeepers Association has donated three beehives to Wisewood.

Phil Khorassandjian, Chair of Sheffield BKA, said: “For many years, we have wanted to get young people involved in keeping bees.

“With the support of the foundation, this has become a reality at Wisewood.

“We are very excited about this project and its educational and environmental potential.”

Liz Heaphy, headteacher, said: “Our children are buzzing about having the bees on site.

“Learning how to keep them will help increase their self confidence and understanding of the world in so many different ways.

“Bees can teach us about the benefits of cooperation, communication, efficiency and organisation.

“They are also producers of beneficial products including honey, pollen, propolis, royal jelly and wax.

“Our children will learn about running a harvesting business and pick up practical skills in numeracy, production and marketing.”

 

About the David and Jane Richards Family Foundation:

 

The Richards established the foundation to advance the teaching of computer science and ecology in state schools.

David Richards, the founder and chief executive of WANdisco plc, set up djrff.org with wife Jane to educate, empower and improve the lives of children.

The foundation is registered as a charitable incorporated organisation to operate throughout England.

Its trustees are Professor Chris Brady, director of the Centre for Sports Business at the University of Salford, Lord Kerslake, the former head of the civil service, and Herb Kim, founder and CEO of Thinking Digital.

The foundation’s aims are the advancement of computing and ecology education in state schools and the advancement of environmental protection and improvement.

David and Jane Richards have donated $1.4m to fund its work. It launches a computer science course for year nines at Tapton School in September.