If you have yet to spot the 10,000 new residents of Derryfield’s campus, it’s because they’re well hidden. On April 30, math teacher Mr. Watt shared the news: Derryfield is now home to an apiary, or a place where bees are kept, located just beyond the turf field.
Mr. Watt noted that he first became interested in bees thanks to his wife, science department chair Mrs. Watt. “She gave me a beginner beekeeping book for my birthday, and after reading it I was hooked!” He said. The opportunity to further explore beekeeping arose when Dr. Carter announced to faculty that an alum was interested in helping start an apiary at school. “Thanks to his generosity and the generosity of the STEM department, I was able to start the Derryfield Apiary.”
“The school has been very supportive of the apiary,” Mr. Watt shared. Derryfield provided funds for him to attend the Capital Area Beekeepers “bee school” in Concord in order to learn the ins and outs of beekeeping from experienced beekeepers, before he met with Dr. Carter, Mr. Dougherty, and Mr. McPherson “to discuss the placement and future of the apiary program.”
As Mr. Watt expressed in his initial email announcement to the school, the apiary will allow the community to learn about the serious but often overlooked threats facing honeybees. He pointed out that one third of the food we eat is pollinated by bees, but global bee populations have been decimated and scientists are struggling to understand why. “I hope to help scientists answer the question of why honeybees are dying throughout the world,” he said. “I plan to study our hive's mite count, weight, temperature, and humidity through instruments provided by the STEM department that make our hive high tech. Being a math guy, I love data, and we can collect instantaneous data from our hive and upload it to the cloud, where it is shared with other beekeepers and biologists.”
The apiary will be incorporated into an “X” block in the new schedule, allowing interested students to practice hands-on quantitative skills. “Studying bees is a real world application of statistics, calculus, biology, and technology, and this study matters!” Mr. Watt noted. “Bees are vital pollinators to our food system . . . 60% of honey bee hives died in New Hampshire this winter. Helping bees can make a real difference.”