Young explorers from primary schools in West London’s White City joined OPAL scientists to learn about the importance of bees and other pollinators during Phoenix School Farm's10th anniversary celebration.
Over 120 local schoolchildren came along to a ‘Spring on the Farm’ event on Friday 19 May, organised by Hammersmith Community Gardens Association (HCGA). Activities included a ‘Bee Station’, manned by scientists from the Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) network, and a visit from a pop-up animal farm. The children got up close to the beehives at Phoenix Farm and learned about the decline of pollinators, including bumblebees, butterflies and flies, and their habitats, as well as finding out what they could do to help their local bee population. Pupils also planted seeds to grow bee-friendly plants at home, helping to provide more places for pollinators to feed.
“We were thrilled to get this chance to work with pupils from schools near Imperial College London’s new campus in White City”, said Dr Poppy Lakeman Fraser, senior coordinator at OPAL. “OPAL is all about putting science and nature into the hands of people from all backgrounds so we’re delighted to work with these schools and with inspiring community enterprises like the Hammersmith Community Gardens Association.”
Speaking after the event, Cathy Maund, director of the HCGA, said: “We would like to thank the team from Imperial and OPAL for taking part in the Spring on the Farm event. It was great for local school pupils to find out more about pollination in a fun and interactive way, learning from the active beehives we have here on the farm.”
Imperial has already held similar events with other local organisations – including Wormholt and White City Big Local, and Queens Park Rangers – as it develops a major new campus in White City. As well as providing a new base for Imperial staff and students, the campus is creating new opportunities for interaction and collaboration with the local community.