All Abuzz at Central Park School for Children

All Abuzz at Central Park School for Children

Thanks to a partnership with N.C. School of Science and Math, Central Park School kids have the opportunity to witness bees in action on a daily basis


Most people try to get bugs out of buildings, but Central Park School for Children welcomes them in. A new project taken on by third-grade teacher Chanel Carrell led to the installation of an “observation hive” of bees at the school, which helps students become excited and engaged in learning about the environment.

After a visit to Bayer Bee Care Center in Research Triangle Park, Chanel was inspired by the students’ interest and fascination with the bees. She wanted to find a way to bring this sort of energy to the school every day. With an observation hive installed in the hallway of Central Park School, students don’t need a science lab or a nature center to learn about bees.

Bob Gotwals installs the glass observation hive in a hallway at the school.

Thanks to a grant and lots of team effort, the school building was equipped for bees, and the observation hive was constructed. North Carolina School of Science and Math (NCSSM) sponsored the four pounds of bees that would go into the hive. Kindergarten teacher Scott Larson built the hive with wood and glass donated by Rice’s Glass Company. Students can easily watch the busy bees thanks to the placement in the hallway and glass window on the observation hive.

Bob Gotwals and Scott Larson show the bees to the students before they are transferred to their new hive.

Bob Gotwals, a beekeeper and educator at NCSSM, hopes to see a growing demand for projects like this around the Triangle. He notes the benefits of learning about bees at a young age, explaining, “having living organisms in a school is unbelievably educational. There’s just a million things kids can learn and come to appreciate. Bees are eusocial, which means they all work together to maintain their community. That’s a great sort of message to send – be like the bees!” Bob says the bees also provide an avenue to teaching kids about the critical role bees play in agriculture and food supply.

Third graders Eliot Montgomery, Zoe Bland, Alexandra Otto, Rawlins Clarke V, Dahlia Louis and Auset Donadelle in their beekeeping suits.

It’s obvious that the students share Bob’s enthusiasm, as the installation of the hive was met with cheers and curiosity from students about the bees’ lifestyles. Joe Otto, 11, commented, “this is a really good idea because I love bees. This is going to be awesome for the school.”

Third grader Jalon Hill observes the bees in their new hive.
Courtney is a Fall editorial intern and UNC Communication Studies and Comparative Literature major. A North Carolina native, she loves to explore southern cities. When she's not on campus, you can most likely find her enjoying a brioche at Bread & Butter or telling anyone who will listen about the last movie she watched.