Such a lovely 'find'. Both the Secret Garden and Bees Knees. I taught Art for nearly 40 years firstly in Britain, then in Geneva. Bought up in the country, my teaching up to International Baccalaureate level focused largely on nature, natural objects, art history studied though nature. Later when my children were small, I held classes for pre-school and early years Swiss children in my studio. Same thing. I have hundreds of photos of their work and I'm convinced it was the best way to teach them to create. I was so pleased to find the Secret Garden - where the aim is the same, to involve children in the natural world. And even more, the Bees Knees group. Now retired in France I do my own work but am passionate about my 'garden'. I keep bees, have a field, a pond and am dedicated to my wildlife. Through the group I have a chance to exchange ideas and build on everyone's experience. Hedgehog care, lizards, bee houses, plants or fungi. It is so friendly. We all exchange and build ideas on the same level, be it from fields in France, or back gardens in UK. Through the site I now chat and exchange 'tips' with Sandra, also an ex art teacher in Uzes, France, but a different climate. It is an invaluable experience - an invaluable organisation.
I have known Becky for nearly three years, when I became involved with the amazing and wonderfully informative Secret garden in Salisbury, one of a number of successful projects that Becky has initiated and manages. Becky is highly knowledgeable and deeply passionate about these projects and wild life issues. The Secret garden and the other projects, the bee trail for example as well as being educational, nature centered has also the community at heart too. The Secret garden in particular has a large number of people who both work and visit the garden, it has brought together a wonderful group of eclectic folk and is a testament to Becky’s ability to bring people together and be inspired by nature. There are many things I could personally take from my experiences from my involvement with the Secret garden. One which although may seem like a small example, actually changed my thinking. It concerns woodlice, I grow organic chillies commercially and when very young seedlings, woodlice can be a tad troublesome and I used to hand pick them (no chemical usage) and routinely kill them or feed them to our chickens. I then learnt from Becky how much these creatures care for their young, living in brood pouches under the female bodies until they are big enough to fend for themselves. Now when I remove them I do not kill them, I collect them and find a nice warm spot in many of our compost heaps and release them there.
Any project that Becky initiates and manages will be amazing for wildlife, wonderful educationally and be at the heart of the community.
The inspiration that the Bees Knees has been to me is a multi-faceted, deep reaching and holistic effect on my life and through me, the lives of people around me: friends, family and virtual friends. I have been a member for several years and although I am in many groups on Facebook, it is THE one that has most embraced me, through which I have learned the most and the one that has bred the most friendships and continued contact inside and outside the group. By “Bees Knees” I mean the whole family of contacts including knowing Becky herself and hearing how the Secret Garden Project is going as well as the actual Bees Knees Group. Becky has a personal approach to everyone she comes into contact with, and despite her workload always makes me feel that she can spare time to advise me or pass comment on my photograph posts or queries. The Secret Garden is a well thought out project with strong local impact that could very usefully be copied in many places across the UK. It creates a place where children and adults can learn good practice through role modeling example, activity, play and volunteering. It creates community cohesion locally while the Bees Knees creates community on-line.
Head of my admin team on the Bees Knees online group, now boasting around 3.5K members.
Rebecca educates in such a style that every age bracket benefits. She also makes everything fun and accessible /manageable to all levels of abilities ...
I’ve learnt so much about natural gardening, the countryside, British species of wildlife and of course wild bees. I’ve changed the way I care for my garden, absolutely everything I do is for the benefit of the environment, all because of what I’ve learnt on the Bees Knees online group. Countless members of the BK have, and continue to tell us how much they have learnt and enjoy learning from the BK, Rebecca will I know continue to really make a difference in the world of nature as she is totally committed to her beliefs.
On a personal level Rebecca is the loveliest, kindest person you could ever wish to meet, she’s one of those rare individuals that can connect with all types of personalities thus utilising a perfect opportunity to educate in a friendly, fun way.