Building community connections. Unlocking community capacity. Celebrating a life. Creating a legacy.
Mr Fred House was a Beekeeper of 92 years, a long term resident of Goodwood in Hobart's northern suburbs and the only survivor of the HMAS Sydney. Fred and I shared a love of bees and met weekly for a coffee and a chat. One day, I asked Fred to start writing about his life as a Beekeeper and a few days before he died, he presented me with his book 'My Life with the Honeybees.' Fred was 99 years old.
Fred's sad passing changed the project to become a book written by children in Goodwood. It was broadened to include the Goodwood Community Centre, Tasmanian Junior Beekeepers, the Story Island Project and Beautiful Girls Bees (now the Bee Collective) to form Bee Literate Tasmania.
Shaping the book became a story of discovery, inspiration and learning for everyone involved.
It built community participation from the ground up and created a 'buzz' in Tasmania, interstate and overseas. The project was established with sustainability in mind, with the authors deciding how funds raised from book sales would be expended. This resulted in a grant round designed by the authors for organisations to create bee and pollinator friendly gardens.
Applications were received from all over Tasmania and the authors selected 18 fabulous projects. You can find out about the projects on the Bee Literate Tasmania facebook page here.
The Book is now in its fourth print run and you can purchase a copy here.
As a community project the Bee Book has been far reaching, impactful and sustained. I have written a book about how this project was built and you can download your free copy here.
What this project has demonstrated is the need for children to tell their stories and the interest in the community to protect bees and pollinators. As part of 'Project Pollinator First', the Bee Book has created a springboard for ongoing learning opportunites with a new book project with children started in the Huon Valley.