Today, I went to a "First Friday" continental breakfast gathering at the university where I work and, in a short 10 minute conversation with two colleagues, I made important progress on my bee-focused Global Issues course for Spring 2009. First, the man who guides and advises the faculty and staff on the use of instructional technology is very interested in helping me apply for equipment funding for this project. This whole conversation was rather interesting in context I think. This man spends his days helping people learn how to use new instructional software, advanced computer technology in the classroom, and purchase GPS units for course use, yet, we spent the time talking about hives, supers, beekeeping clothing and the like. But as he says, "This is also instructional technology as well." He also expressed interest in learning beekeeping with me.
My second conversation was with the Religious Brother who maintains a vegetable garden for his fellow Brothers on campus. I told him about my project and asked if we might discuss the possibility of putting a hive in or near his garden. His response surprised me. He said he's always wanted bees for his garden primarily for their honey. (I assured him that the Brothers could have all the honey-- I am a diabetic and rarely consume honey myself.) He also expressed a desire that the students go farther with my project than just beekeeping.
He said wryly, "I need weeding done and they could learn composting...Right now they could plant my garlic as well... Many of our students have never worked in a garden."
This idea of having students also work with the plants the bees forage on is engaging. The students would have hands-on experience with the plant environment the bees depend on as well.