A glorious day at Heathrow Airport with Terminal 5 Security, BeekeeperTom and a lot of honeybees.

 

Delegates get up close and personal with a partial frame of honeybees

As part of the Heathrow Terminal 5 security team High5 initiative, BeekeeperTom introduces delegates (non-beekeepers) to the awesomeness of honeybees and other insect pollinators.

 

What is High5!

The honeybee stand, with T5 program organisers and BeekeeperTom (centre)

 

High5! Is a Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 (T5) engagement program, T5 looked at using Bees because of the symbiotic relationships they have with flowers, this relationship tied in nicely with what T5 wanted to do.

High5! Is a four-day program, a journey that enables colleagues to better understand themselves and each other, so they can really support and inspire each other, walking through a foundation for great relationships, this includes communication, world class teamwork, and wellbeing.

Team High5

Day four is the big finale of the course, people are given the opportunity to get hands on gardening with a professional horticulturist, supported by Heathrow’s engineering and sustainability teams.
Delegates can get in the woodwork shed make bird boxes, bug hotels, garden furniture and raised beds, which are used in the T5 community garden or to be sold with proceeds going to Green Corridor, one of Heathrow’s charity partner’s.

 

BeekeeperTom and his Grandson Brys building a prototype raised bed.
BeekeeperTom and his Grandson Brys building a prototype raised bed.

 

The High5 teams have done a cracking job, having painted and filled one of the planters.

But perhaps the most popular by far, a Beekeeping experience with our very own Beekeeper, Tom Law.
Delegates get suited and get hands on, under the watchful guise of Tom who talks them through the life of Bees, their importance to humans as pollinators and the how’s and whys of them.
The session culminates with a honey tasting, to showcase the huge variety of gorgeous natural honey, which delegates can buy.

Something strange happens when a group dons the white suit.

 

 

This local regeneration project adjacent to T5 involves the full transformation of approx. 2.5 acres of scrubland into a vibrant growing space with wildflowers, fruit, vegetables and native heathland. This project offers a unique opportunity to regenerate part of the local environment and link together a range of projects around Heathrow Airport.

The first group of Heathrow T5 Security volunteers began volunteering on site in early April.
With over 1,500 staff in groups of 20 donating their time every Friday over the 18 months, in total an amazing 10,000 hours of work will be put into this project.

As part of the initiative, each Friday, Tom welcomes two groups of T5 security team volunteers, one group in the morning, and an afternoon group.
There is a fast moving, classroom style introduction, and overview of honeybees, followed by a visit to beehives for hands-on experience after which there is a honey tasting (Which always proves popular).

 

Currently, we are on week eight and there is definitely a trend developing!
Tom’s first question is always, when I say the word ‘swarm’, tell me the first word that pops into your head?

Understandably, and due to Hollywood’s influence, the word swarm generally elicits a fearful response, when in fact a swarm is simply a large number of bees just looking for a new home.
Indeed! Tom has collected many swarms without donning a bee suit and demonstrates just how gentle these wonderful creatures can be.

Building upon this Tom proceeds to explain honeybees critical part of our life, being responsible (Along with other insect pollinators) for pollinating over a third of the world’s food crops.

Also covered is why bees are suffering and in decline globally, the reasons and potential real world solutions.

Then Tom busts a few beekeeping myths and backs this up by opening up and manipulating frames of bees in little more than shorts and a short sleeve shirt!

But you said, never stand in front of a beehive!

 

BeekeeperTom at Heathrow Airport collecting a honeybee swarm.
BeekeeperTom at Heathrow Airport collecting a honeybee swarm.

Towards the end of the session, many delegates become a lot more relaxed, realizing that with a little knowledge and a lot of respect, our friends, honeybees are indeed friendly and fascinating.
The chap below really did not want to hand the bees back, they are fascinating to watch.

The bees have you under their spell….

 

Some of the groups are very reticent about approaching the bees, once they were introduced in a controlled environment, things relax a little.

 

But it is not all about hard work!

Beekeepers photobomb too!

 

 

One of the benefits! So many delegates are brilliant cooks, and that honey glaze!

 

BeekeeperTom is a professional apiculturalist who works with corporates to improve their biodiversity footprint and increase awareness of honeybees as pollinators.

 

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