Today the Bee Observation Centre opened in Stave Hill Ecological Park at the Stave Hill compound. It was funded by the Cleaner, Greener, Safer Fund, as a donation to the Friends of Russia Dock Woodland.
The Observation Centre consists of a small wooden hut (decorated for today with paintings and drawings of bees by local school children).
Inside the hut is a glass-paneled inspection window, where the bees and the honeycomb are on clear view. The queen was clearly visible, marked with a white do. Outside the hut, at the back, is a small funnel out of which the bees come and go.
At 2pm a class of school children filed quietly into the entrance. A rug was rolled out for them and they seated themselves down, taking it in turns to visit the Bee Observation Centre in small, completely fascinated groups. Although I am always wary about showing photos of children on the the blog, in the photograph above the Observation Centre was full of the first batch of children being guided by visiting bee keeper (and Bee Keeper of the Year) Sharon Bassey, from Peckham, who helped to set up the Observation Centre. It was great to see their enthusiasm and genuine interest as they competed to see who could spot the queen.
Behind the Observation Centre are some hives, which have been in place since August 2012, with bees actively getting on with the important business of making honey.
If you want to visit you will need to go when the Compound is open, as the Observation Centre is inside it. Their conservation details are on the Trust for Urban Ecology website at http://www.urbanecology.org.uk/stavehillcontacts.html
The ecological park is vibrant at the moment, full of colour and life - and lots of bees!
Don't forget that for those with a particular interest in bees and beekeeping, Surrey Docks Farm will be holding their Beginners guide to Beekeeping course this Sunday the 16th from 13:00 to about 17:00. For more information see the Surrey Docks Farm website: