Mary Immaculate Secondary School

Bee Education goes Gaelic in Schools

Bee Education goes Gaelic in Schools

Please see this article published in the Banner Beekeepers Association Magazine. WELL DONE TYs and Mr. Gomes

'These are strange times that we live in. We have all had to adapt to the way things have changed since Covid-19 has become part of our lives. Even in lockdown, people have discovered unique ways of coping and have developed new interests and hobbies. One such man is Thierry Gomes, teacher at Mary Immaculate Secondary School in Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare and member of the local Banner BKA. Not only has he taken up a new hobby in beekeeping, but he is now also imparting his knowledge to Transition Year students as part of the schools’ TY programme aimed at educating 4th year students on current, key environmental issues.

Thierry completed his Beginners Course (facilitated by Tribes BKA - he’s also a member there) in beekeeping in 2019. As lockdown loomed and schools had to close their doors, he was granted permission from the school’s Principal Ms Hynes, to establish an apiary. The school’s next door neighbour, Father Conor, a beekeeper himself, very generously agreed to allow the school to create a wildflower meadow and site 2 hives on it, in an area behind the Church next to the school.

Clare County Council provided funding for one hive (christened Clare) and painted yellow. The second hive was entirely built by
Thierry out of old pallets and glass, (named Glass of course!) Two of the walls of the brood chamber are glass and the crown board is perspex; thus enabling a good view of activity within the hive; whilst not disturbing the bees. - ideal for education purposes!

Thierry managed the hives all through the summer including a third hive which was kindly donated by Tribes BKA. With lockdown lifted, Schools returned in September 2020 and this afforded an ideal opportunity to inspect the hives with the new cohort of TY students. However, how do you coordinate a hive inspection with a group of teenagers, most of whom have never been near a bee before and when you only have 3 bee suits? Thierry came up with the ingenious idea of filming the hive inspection (assisted by 2 of last year's TY students) on WhatsApp whilst the new group watched on their phones at a safe distance from the apiary and of course maintaining 2m distance from one another!

Thierry is very keen to not only educate teenagers about bees but also to pass on his knowledge to younger children in junior schools (his daughter is in 5th class) and attending Gaelscoil Mhíchíl Cíosóg in Ennis. Having seen in December’s issue of An Beachaire that the Youth Development Board of FIBKA have developed a set of slide presentations intended for use as a tool to support members when talking about honeybees to junior schools, he contacted us directly with a request. The presentations are in English and his daughter is at an Irish school…… Would it be possible to translate everything into Irish?

A project is now underway, where the TY students and two 5th year students (Joanna, Cindy, Julie, Aishling from Mary Immaculate, Lisdoonvarna and Mina from Gaelscoil Mhíchíl Cíosóg, Ennis) are translating the FIBKA slide presentations into Irish, together with the help and support of Irish Teachers, Miss B Arthur and Mrs B Howley). This has been an interesting challenge for the students especially, as they are not all native Irish speakers; indeed Polish and French rank amongst their native languages! All work is having to be done remotely, due to lockdown restrictions - another challenge for all concerned!

As part of Mary Immaculate’s Education Programme on Environmental Issues for Transition Year, the students will be using the FIBKA junior schools’ presentations to impart the knowledge they have gained on the honey bees and beekeeping to junior schools in their area, in both English and Irish in 2021!
Whether this will be done in person or remotely remains to be seen, but no doubt, if the last year has shown us anything, it is that a solution to overcoming any stumbling blocks can and will be found!'

17 2021
Third Year Test Week
21 2021
TY Virtual Graduation
24 2021
School Closed today
28 2021
LC Virtual Graduation
Mary Immaculate Secondary School,
Co. Clare,

065 707 4266

Ceist- Catholic Education, an Irish schools trust
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