In a recent online mason bee house workshop, someone asked how they could host their own workshop at their school in Germany. Knowing it was long overdue, I got to work putting together an official Build for Bees workshop guide.
You can find the printable version of the guide here. To make it as accessible as possible, I’ve included the text version below:
Build for Bees: Workshop Guide
Congratulations! You're on your way to hosting your first Build for Bees workshop. In your workshop, you'll teach others about the importance of bees. You'll focus on mason bees, and help your attendees build mason bee houses of their own.
Here are the ingredients of a successful workshop:
- An engaging presentation
- Mason bee house supplies
- An informative pamphlet for attendees to take home
Don't have these ingredients quite yet? No worries. This guide will walk you through where to get them.
Ingredient #1: An Engaging Presentation
The first thing you'll need to host your workshop is an engaging presentation. This will give your attendees the background information they need to be as motivated as you are.
Here's a suggested outline for your presentation:
- An Introduction to Build for Bees
- Why Bees Matter
- Our Declining Honey Bee Population (Stats)
- Our Declining Honey Bee Population (Causes)
- Mason Bees Can Help
- How to Help Mason Bees
To Get your presentation started, visit this page, and download the official presentation template. There’s no right or wrong way to go about this. I encourage you to take the lead and do the research yourself.
If you don't want to make a presentation, don’t worry. Visit this page to download the official Build for Bees presentation, and go here to download the presentation note cards. The note cards include suggested talking points.
And if you’re unable to give a presentation, you can play the official Build for Bees workshop video for your attendees instead. As of right now, this is only available in English.
Ingredient #2: Mason Bee House Supplies
After sharing your presentation, it's time to start building mason bee houses! You probably already know how to build a mason bee house, but let's review the supplies you'll need:
- Paper or compostable straws (3/8'' diameter is ideal)
- Reeds or bamboo (as an alternative to straws)
- Magazines (as another alternative to straws, you can make your own nesting tubes out of magazines. See the tutorial here).
- Bamboo/Reeds (another alternative to straws)
- Mason Bee house labels (Download them here)
Don't worry if you don't have these supplies yet. You can ask attendees to bring their own supplies, or you can easily get them yourself in these ways:
- Host a collection day with your local recycling coalition, school, church, or another group.
- Ask family and friends if they have extras of any of the supplies you need.
- Go to yard sales and thrift stores.
Ingredient #3: An Informative Pamphlet
The key to a successful workshop is having something attendees can take home to remember your workshop by. Mason bee houses are great for this, but it's also important that your attendees come home with something to remind them of what they've learned.
That's why providing an informative pamphlet is so important. Download "Workshop Quick Notes" here to snag the official Build for Bees workshop pamphlet. It's super easy to alter the size, if you'd like to save paper.
After sharing a presentation, building mason bee houses, and passing out pamphlets, your workshop will be complete!
It's easy to manipulate these steps to fit your time frame. If you're on a tight schedule, encourage your attendees to make their mason bee houses while you're presenting. It's a quiet activity that won't cause any disruptions. If you have more time, wait to build mason bee houses until the end, and use the time to answer questions.
At the end, you'll likely have excess straw ends. You can either compost them or save them for an art project. Your workshop should be zero-waste.
Ask for feedback.
One of the best ways to improve your workshops is to ask for feedback. Print this workshop feedback form to request feedback with ease.
Share your workshop.
At the end of your workshop, take a group photo & document how many mason bee houses were built.
To be featured on our Instagram or website, email your photos and a short reflection to BuildforBees@gmail.com. Make sure that everyone in the photo consents to it being shared online.
Hope this guide helps you! If you missed the links to the resources mentioned throughout the guide, I've indexed them below:
- Click "File," "Make a copy," "Entire presentation" to get an editable version