2020-02-12

Local students plead with Mahone Bay Council to help save the bees

by Kevin Mcbain

  • <p>KEVIN MCBAIN PHOTO</p><p>Maeva Brisson (left) and Sadie David, members of the <em>FIRST </em>Lego League team at Centre Scolaire de la Rive Sud, encouraged the Town of Mahone Bay Mayor and Council to start a Pollinator Action program to help save the bees.</p>

M@KMcBainLHNOW

Two members of the FIRST Lego League at Centre Scolaire de la Rive-Sud presented their case for saving the bees at the Mahone Bay Town Council January 30.

Team members and students, Sadie David, Grade 4 and Maeva Brisson, Grade 5, presented their case requesting council to consider a Pollinator Action Plan to save the bees. The presentation was part of a team challenge.

The duo shared some facts and figures to support saving the bees and a short video.

"Maybe you are wondering why this is a problem? The answer is simple. Without bees, there would be no people and without people there would be no towns, municipalities or cities," said David.

They added that if the bees disappear completely, one-third of the food we eat now will be gone, as many plants depend on bees for pollination.

According to their research, in 1947, there were about 5.9 million bees in the world and in 2008, there were just 2.44 million. In Europe, the production of honey has gone down from 32,000 to 9,000 tons per year.

In early February, the journal Science reported that the climate crisis is causing a widespread decline in bumble bees because of extreme heat.

Following the presentation, the duo asked mayor and council to support them in their efforts to make citizens aware of the situation of the declining bee population and to do their part in planting flowers and make the town more bee-friendly.

They presented the mayor with a package of pollinator-friendly seeds to help kick start their campaign.

"I hope we will all take the opportunity this summer to try and improve the quality of life for bees in Mahone Bay," said Mayor David Devenne.'

The pair also brought along with them a simple-to-make bee hotel made of recyclable materials such as wood with holes drilled in them, paper straws and cardboard.

David and Brisson are part of the FIRST Lego League at the school that includes 19 members and two competitive teams. The club has been offered in the school for the past 12 years.

The league is a world-wide initiative, put together by founders of FIRST (a global robotics group)and the Lego group in the 1990s. The competition is now in 100 countries. The league challenges students in many areas such as problem-solving, research, coding and engineering.

Each year features a different theme and this year's is "City Shapers" – challenging students to come up with a solution to a world problem. The local team came up with the disappearing bee population as their project. Along with the presentation at Mahone Bay council, there have been or will be presentations to councils at the Town of Bridgewater, Municipality of Chester, Municipality of the District of Lunenburg and the Town of Lunenburg.

The schools form competitive teams to take on the tasks that organizers of the FIRST Lego League set out for them. Teams compete with four components in mind – robot design; robot challenges (programming them to do certain tasks); a project (in this case bees); and how a team demonstrates FIRST Lego League Core Values such as discovery, having fun and team-work.

Teams are marked on all four components during regional competitions, held in December each year at Nova Scotia Community College campuses around the province.

The local team won the trophy for the demonstration of core values and won second-place overall. A second team from Centre Scolaire de la Rive-Sud competed as well but came up just short of earning a spot in the provincials.

Top teams move on to Acadia University to compete for the provincial championships. This year it is set for February 15-16. Coaches for the program at Centre Scolaire de la Rive-Sud are Fred Daugherty and Diane Racette.

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