AUSTIN, Texas — Some Austin Independent School District students are buzzing with excitement over bees as there are new hives at schools across the district. 

Before the end of the year school year, some students at Brooke Elementary School in East Austin are making sure the second hive on campus is a healthy home for the thousands of new bees there. 

“It’s easy to work with them, because you got to stay calm,” said Leslie Centena, fourth-grade student.  

Sam DeSanto, a Brooke Elementary teacher, said students do not always get the opportunity to be out in nature.  

“It helps a lot with social emotional learning, it also broadens the horizons of our students that there’s many more things that they don’t even know about what they might want to do,” said DeSanto. 

Students learn about how important bees are to supporting biodiversity. Educators said by providing a safe haven for the threatened insect population, students are also getting a lesson in empathy and the ecosystem. 

“What we allow is for the bees to have a safe place, we allow to students to come and they can see that bees are also a lot like us. When the students take care of that, other things besides themselves, and looking at their own needs they start empathizing and thinking beyond themselves,” said DeSanto. 

Clint Small Middle School in South Austin received honeybees, hives and beekeeping equipment this year from the Honeybee Conservancy through the Sponsor-A-Hive Program, which supports bee conservation. 

“One in three bites of food we eat depends entirely on bees—and they are dying out. Bees inhabit the juncture where sustainability, science, and the local food movement intersect,” Guillermo Fernandez, director of The Honeybee Conservancy, said in a news release.