Session: Advanced Design/Build, After-school Spring 2021

Builders: 12 9th-12th grade participants

Materials: 1×12 common boards (pine), miter saw, exterior paint, wood glue, painter’s tape, bamboo/sticks/scrap wood (for bees’ burrowing)

Description: For the spring session of our Advanced Design/Build class, we built a beehive made of 12 hexagonal units for pollinating mason bees in the Portola Garden Club’s community gardens in San Francisco. To begin, our girls and gender-expansive youth ripped a 60-degree beveled edge along 1×12 boards, then cut 6 segments to assemble hexagonal bee boxes. The precision of the geometry was key, but this crew of proud math nerds and detail-oriented builders used a tape-and-glue method with a few trim head screws to assemble picture-perfect hexagons together. We then painted the boxes a cheerful lime green and stuffed them with permeable organic materials (like bamboo, scrap wood, and sticks) for the mason bees to live, nest, and lay their eggs!

In addition to our hexagon-building endeavors, we held a discussion about the importance of small-scale urban design interventions to preserve ecology and combat climate change. As with every Girls Garage project, we grounded our work in the context of our community’s needs!

Girls Garage teen build bee boxes

Advanced Design/Build Girls Garage bee box installation