Garden And Gardener

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The Honey Club

by Diane - July 21st, 2016.
Filed under: Bees.

The honey clubKing’s Cross based organisations collaborate to create a family fun citizen project that will help monitor local bee numbers


Bee trail technologists make inventive use of physical web beacon prototype technology to enable community activism



The Honey Club, a partnership between King’s Cross-based youth charity Global Generation, Urban Bess and Wolff Olins, launches the 2016 King’s Cross (KX) Bee Trail App.


This citizen science project brought to life as an app-led walking tour of King’s Cross is designed to raise awareness of this fast-changing area of London; in particular the bees living there and the food and shelter they need.


There are eight stops along the KX Bee Trail, each marked with a Honey Club sign that’s powered by innovative technology. At each of the stops a beacon unlocks a new part of the app and accesses a new activity. At some locations participants are invited to learn something new about bees, at others they can take part in a bee count.


Activities unlock vouchers to some of London’s most exciting restaurants: the German Gymnasium, The Lighterman, Dishoom, The Grain Store, Caravan, The Greek Larder, Rotunda, and The Skip Garden Kitchen.


Multiple studies* show that bee numbers and their distribution are in decline globally, which will have serious implications for food production and our ecological system.


Nicole Van den Eijnde from Global Generation says: “Getting up close with bees in the middle of the city is a great way for young people to understand that we are part of an interconnected world. They move from being afraid of bees to realising how important they are and as a result this makes them want to give something back.”


More about the Bee Trail


The trail now starts at the German Gymnasium near the bird cage sculpture** on King’s Boulevard and ends a short walk away at The Skip Garden; factoring in time for the activities, it should take no more than 60 minutes to complete.


Anyone can follow the trail, track the bees, and discover hidden worlds at the heart of one of the world’s busiest cities. And by counting bees at points along the trail they will be contributing to the collection of important data. This year, as part of the expanded trail, there is new content that explains different forage and bee facts, and new vouchers to enjoy from restaurant partners.


Alison Benjamin, co-founder of Urban Bees comments, “The data will help the Honey Club to add to local information about the diversity and abundance of different bee species in King’s Cross, and to educate people about the forage they need to thrive. The data in the long term could show us if our efforts to raise awareness and provide more food are having a positive impact on bee populations.”


“The King’s Cross Bee Trail App is a wonderful and engaging way of communicating the importance of bees and their role in pollinating the food we eat here in the city,” adds Wolfgang Buttress, artist and creator of award-winning bee-powered sculpture The Hive, currently installed at Kew Gardens.


The App


An earlier version of the app was successfully piloted in August 2015. People who downloaded the app did more than 300 bee counts at three locations. The most common bees spotted were honeybees, followed by buff-tailed bumblebee and the common carder bee. In total more than 1,100 bees were counted. The information was shared with Greenspace Information for Greater London***, the capital’s environmental records centre.


From idea to reality the app took technologists at creative consultancy Wolff Olins six weeks to develop.


The App uses the physical web beacon technology, to push content to your smart device via Bluetooth; enhancing app-users’ physical experience of the trail with digitally provided information and perks.


Caroline Goodwin, from Wolff Olins’ tech team comments, “Many applications of beacon technology, in retail, casinos etc., can be pretty invasive and irritating – no one likes to receive push notification about offers they’re not interested in! We have used beacon technology to enhance users’ experience and make a positive impact in society. We see a big opportunity to use this tech in similarly positive ways in other contexts; museums, county councils and property developments for example.”


The Bee Trail app is available to download for iPhone or Android phones


About The Honey Club


The Honey Club is a partnership of Global Generation, Urban Bees and Wolff Olins with a mission to create a bee caring community in urban spaces – from rooftop to garden, hive to street, business to people.


We’re a team of designers, technologists, community activists, young people, journalists, beekeepers and gardeners who are working creatively to take on one big, sticky problem: the lack of nectar and pollen from blooming plants for bees to forage in urban environments like our home in King’s Cross.


The Honey Club is supported by members like Eurostar; interested businesses should email to join.


For more information go to and keep up to date via Twitter andFacebook.