More than 20 budding beekeepers are learning the art of apiary in a new workshop series on offer at the half-hectare farm at Matthew Flinders Anglican College in Buderim on the Sunshine Coast.
Students, parents, grandparents and friends are learning and sharing knowledge alongside Farm Manager Jeff MacLennan as he hosts a new free beekeeping workshop series on Monday afternoons in Term 3.
The workshops will aim to cover a range of skills, from hand making bee frames for the hives and caring for the hives, through to next week’s plan to harvest and bottle the honey to enjoy as a treat.
The group will also explore how to repurpose the wax left over after the honey extraction, perhaps to make beeswax candles and food wraps.
The Flinders Farm is a vibrant hands-on education hub for children at Flinders, from little learners in the Flinders Early Learning Centre all the way through to students in Year 12, as well as staff.
Students visit the farm for curriculum learning and are also invited at lunchtimes to help out on the property and enjoy the peace of farm life.
The aim is to develop environmental knowledge and passion through real-world projects, such as irrigation, composting, growing food, caring for animals and harvesting bee hives.
Farmer Jeff said he was thrilled to share his passion for beekeeping with people of all ages in the Flinders community.
“We are fortunate to have 10 productive beehives here at our Flinders Farm and are keen to offer our community the experience, rewards and joys of farm life,” Jeff said.
“The workshops are also a chance for people to help, because there is a lot that goes into keeping hives healthy and clean as well as harvesting the honey,” he said.
“Beekeeping is a great hobby for young people and adults as it brings them in touch with one of nature’s amazing creatures, and unplugs them from today’s flood of digital technology and media.
“Most of the people in our group simply want to try a fun new hobby or are interested in owning hives but first want to investigate the process before they make a commitment.
“We also have some people who already have their own bee hives and want to learn more, share their knowledge and meet like-minded people.”
The Flinders Farm is nurtured as a home to 14 chickens and an emu called Erol. It also has a 900m2 orchard with a variety of fruit trees (avocados, limes, mandarines, oranges, lychees, mangoes and oranges) and 600m2 of vegetable gardens, as well as a compost making facility and commercial worm farm.
Staff and Farmer Jeff also teach in the farm classroom, which is built to a ‘rustic’ design with roller doors on either side that open to let students experience the sights and smells of the farm.
For example, the Year 9 Agricultural Science curriculum is taught at the farm and focuses on how to produce nutrient dense food without pesticides and fungicides. Students also learn how future generations can mitigate climate change using regenerative farming methods.
The subject is hands-on as students learn how to prepare veggie gardens, care for animals, install irrigation, test soil and interpret soil reports, make compost and compost tea, harvest bee hives, and use both plant and soil health monitoring equipment.
Flinders Farm Manager, Mr Jeff MacLennan
Jeff MacLennan brings a lifetime of practical knowledge of growing and producing food, having been born and raised on a farm where his family grew sugar cane and small crops before establishing the third largest privately-owned citrus orchard in Queensland.
Prior to commencing at Flinders in January 2019, Jeff was head gardener of the Ginger Factory at Yandina where he was responsible for revitalising the grounds of the iconic Queensland tourist attraction into lush rainforest and thriving tropical gardens.
Jeff has revitalised the Flinders Farm over the past three years as a vibrant, hands-on learning hub for Flinders’ more than 1,380 students from Prep to Year 12. Jeff also previously spent six years in the Australian Army, as well as managing his own businesses with his wife, Nikky, while raising their two sons.
Join the New Beekeeping Workshops Series at the Flinders Farm
Farmer Jeff is still inviting people who are interested to join the workshop series on Monday afternoons in Term 3 at the Flinders Farm.
Spaces are open for people keen to learn more about beekeeping and share their knowledge.
The Flinders Farm is also open to students and staff at lunchtimes from Monday to Friday.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.