As a business, we are always looking for ways to give back to our local community. Given our love for all things wildlife, and the green focus of The Queen’s Jubilee, this year The Sign Maker has brought together The Queen Bee Project in partnership with The Outdoors Group (a company based in Devon, encouraging others to explore our local environment through play). The Queen Bee Project is a celebration of Devon businesses uniting to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee, as well as being an investment in the future generation.
The Queen Bee Project involved crafting six bee boxes, gifting one to each forest school site in Devon. We hoped that the boxes would encourage the learners to get excited about what creatures they could find in the forest and facilitate a learning experience too. In addition, we know that bug boxes can be beneficial to the bugs themselves. Insect houses provide a safe and cosy spot to shelter, retreat from predators and raise their young too.
Crafting ‘The Queen Bee’ Boxes
Our incredible workshop team can turn their hand to anything! With many years of sign making and product design between them under their belt, crafting these boxes was a new and exciting challenge. After exploring some different designs, and speaking to The Outdoors Group about what would be of benefit to their learners, the all-inclusive insect box appeared to be the perfect fit. All that was left to do then was to craft them!
The bee boxes have been crafted using long-lasting, waterproof, sustainable offcuts of Tricoya timber. The crafting process involved crafting the basic structure of the box, before addressing the different layers. The pieces were nailed together to form both a box and roof, in addition to a back panel. Once we had the structure, Caroline was able to prime the boxes before Poppy painted them Farrow and Ball ‘Lichen’ (a go-to colour for The Sign Maker)!
The next step was to create a bug-based haven! We were keen to use a variety of natural materials. Our research confirmed that this would be popular with the bees and bugs. So, the top section of the boxes used offcuts of hardwood timber with drilled holes, the middle section featured tubes of bamboo, and the bottom section utilised pinecones and bark (with a wire netting to keep them within the box). The photos below demonstrate how the boxes turned out – I’m sure you’ll agree that our team did a phenomenal job; it was a real team effort to bring these boxes together.
Visiting Escot Forest School
On Friday 20th, we had the privilege of visiting the Escot Forest School site. Despite the rainy weather, we received the warmest welcome. We had the best time finding out more about Forest Schools and meeting all of the fantastic staff and children. Poppy and I were curious to find out what it is about forest school that the kids enjoy the most. We received specific examples of activities like ‘s’more making’, and ‘playing with the cargo nets’, but also explanations of the friendships made, and the joy of ‘spending time out in nature.’
The Queen Bee Project is something that we have felt passionately about for a number of reasons. As well as honouring The Queen’s call for action for a greener future, we are also fulfilling a pledge of ours as a partner of The North Devon Biosphere. We are thrilled to think of the learners who will benefit from these insect boxes. The craftsmanship should mean that they can be utilised for years to come.
Bringing this project together has been incredibly special for The Sign Maker. So we are looking forward to hearing from The Outdoors Group about how they are getting on with their boxes! We’d love to know what you are getting up to over the Jubilee weekend. Drop us a comment below or over our socials and let us know how you’ll be celebrating too!