As Grade 9 students, Eliza MacLeod and Celeste Vickery wanted to talk about something meaningful for the Oak Bay High “speak out.”
“We wanted to do something environmental, we looked up bees, and found out what a dire situation it is for the bees,” Vickery said.
Two years later the tandem started a Bee Club that, at least on club sign-up day, was the talk of the school.
“We had a lot of signatures – 64 – though the most we get at meetings is around 10 or 12,” MacLeod said. “It might have been the honey-nut Cheerios we were giving out.”
All jokes aside, the club is on the right track to complement the ongoing streamside rehabilitation of native plants that hundreds of Oak Bay High students have contributed to since the new school was constructed in 2015.
The club has fundraised $500 through a bake sale on Oak Bay Avenue and a very successful screening of Jerry Seinfeld’s animated Bee Movie.
“The environmental club has done so much to pull out invasive plants and replace them with native plants,” Vickery said. “We plan to collect logs and use the school’s resources [such as the woodshop] to drill holes in the logs for [mason] bees.”
The club is also focused on purchasing some more flowering plants for the Bowker Creek area, Vickery added.
“It won’t be until spring that we get the logs in for the bees,” MacLeod said. “We hope to have another fundraiser before then.”
Last year Oak Bay High officially took on the stewardship role of the creek, in partnership with the school district
The riparian area beside the creek – and behind Oak Bay High – has had invasive blackberries and other overgrown invasives removed and is now home to a rich variety of native plants.
Eventually, adding beehives to the school district property could be explored but cutting the red-tape and fundraising for the purchases (or hive rentals) is still a project for down the road for the fledgeling club.