Tag: Pierhead

Pierhead Bees – Summer update, August 2019

Matthew Jones, Sustainability Manager

Darllenwch yr erthygl yma yn Gymraeg | View this post in Welsh

Winter

The Pierhead Bees coped with their first winter well – they thinned down their numbers and huddled together for warmth in the hive, keeping it a toasty 30+ degrees in the middle to protect their queen. 

We left all the honey in the hives last year as they hadn’t been with us for the full season, and even supplemented their diet with some fondant which they munched through in the spring without having to leave the hives.

Spring into Summer

The different personalities of the hives have  continued to be evident throughout their first year.  Hive two has still been much more boisterous with the keepers inspecting them, but they have also been busier.  They started making plenty of food and increasing their numbers again early in the spring, while hive one was still taking it slow after the winter. 

So much so in fact that we even had to borrow some frames of food from hive two and give it to the bees in hive one; rewarding their lethargy, we know!

As the abundance of flowering plants has grown into the summer, especially on the undeveloped areas of land around the Bay where the bees can forage, hive one caught up and both were displaying ample food stocks.

This trend continued and recently we actually had to add a super (extra layer) to hive one to store all their food, and another one for brood– all the extra baby bees they’ve been making.

Hive two in the meantime changed dramatically- relaxing their behaviour for a while whilst we noticed they had stopped making eggs.  Although it can be difficult to spot the queen during an inspection visit, a behaviour change and lack of eggs are sure-fire signs the queen is no longer present.  The following week we then noticed two queen or supercedure cells; the hive trying to make a new queen.  We had to leave both of these to hatch, and in the ruthless efficiency of nature the two queens would battle it out with only the strongest surviving.

We had to allow this process to take its course; servicing only hive one whilst the queen from hive two left to mate with a male from another hive, and return home before settling down to take up her new role as matriarch and egg-layer. 

A precarious time during which she could become lost or even eaten by a bird, we were obviously on tenterhooks awaiting her safe return.  Our keepers had to be patient while we avoided any disturbance of the hive during this critical time.  That patience paid off though and we are pleased to report that at the start of August we found new eggs in hive two.  Baby bees are being made and the hive has a new leader to work for. 

Long live the queen!

For more information on the Pierhead Bees project email sustainability@assembly.wales

Caring for the Pierhead bees: our staff volunteers

Darllenwch yr erthygl yma yn Gymraeg | View this post in Welsh

August 2019

The Assembly’s Pierhead building has been the home of two rooftop beehives since July 2018, regularly monitored and cared for by a small team of staff volunteers.

Despite having a rooftop location the hives are in a safe, sheltered spot which gives them protection from the worst of Cardiff Bay’s weather. Under the watchful eyes of our volunteers they settled in through autumn and survived their first winter.

Now it’s summer again, the bees are working hard and have started producing honey.

Here, some of our volunteers talk about their experiences:

Emily

It’s the height of summer and the Pierhead Bees are busier than ever foraging the surrounding areas of the Pierhead to build up stores of their glorious golden honey.

Whilst one of the hives had a relatively slow start this summer, the bees have more than made up for it and have now built up frame after frame of honey which will be harvested in the Autumn. It never ceases to amaze me just how hard working the bees are… To make just 1KG of honey, our Pierhead bees will have flown 145, 000km and could have visited up to 2000 flowers per day! As you can see from the photos below, they have been very busy indeed.

So how do the bees make honey? Our bees have been busy foraging the local area for nectar found in plants and wildflowers. The nectar is collected, then once inside the beehive, the worker bees repeatedly consume, digest and regurgitate the nectar into the cells. When it is the right consistency, the honey is then sealed which is what you can see in the photos below.

This will be the first season where we will be able to harvest honey, and as a new beekeeper I am excited to see the process. Honey has been harvested for thousands of years for its various benefits. Not only does it taste delicious and never goes off, but it has many medicinal properties too. It is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory and can even be used to help relieve hay fever symptoms. Hopefully the bees will be kind enough to share some of their honey with us later in the year!

Did you know?
Honey stores have been found in the tombs of ancient Egyptian Pharaohs and when excavated were still edible 3000 years later! Proving the theory that honey never goes off!

Sian D

As a nature lover, I feel very lucky to be part of such an exciting project at the Assembly.

Who knew that there was so much to learn about bees?! I’ve been working on the project for just over a year now and I still find myself constantly learning about their ways and tricks. I’m nearly always surprised each time I lift the lid off a hive and peer in – particularly at the astonishing speed with which the hives change and develop.

The busy nature of the bees means that it is essential that we carry out weekly inspections during the summer months, while the flowers are blooming and pollination activity is in full swing. We work as a pair during the inspections, thoroughly scanning each frame as we work our way through the hive. While we scan we look for honey (their food supply); pollen; capped brood cells; larva; eggs; and the usually inconspicuous queen.

During an inspection you may find some of the bees raising their behinds in the air and frantically fanning their wings. If you are brave enough to put your face close to them then you will smell a lovely fresh scent of lemon being wafted up your nostrils. This scent that they release helps the foraging bees find their way home.

As you scan through the hives you will also find that the capped cells come in different sizes. The large raised ones will contain a drone bee (male) and the flatter cells contain a smaller female bee.

Did you know that the queen bee can choose the sex of its offspring? When a virgin queen first leaves the hive she will have multiple matings with drone bees during her flight. She then stores the sperm using it bit by bit as she lays her eggs. Her stores will usually last around three years. If she fertilizes an egg with sperm then a female bee will emerge, and a drone will emerge from an unfertilized egg. This ‘choice’ is determined by the size of the brood cells made by the worker bees. And these are only a few of the many fascinating facts about the wondrous bees!

Sian C

I jumped at the opportunity to be involved in the bee keeping here at the Assembly and my experience so far has not disappointed.

The bee keeping is fascinating and I find the time spent up on top of the Pierhead so relaxing. Caring for the bees and watching the hives grow and change has been an education, and I am in awe of the colonies and the way in which nature works.

I have learnt so much, not just about the bees, but also it has further peaked my interest in environmental issues and from this I have made some big changes to my consumer habits, diet and garden! Not only have I learnt a new skill, I have also met some amazing new people from all walks of Assembly life, many of whom I wouldn’t have had a chance to speak with beyond a quick ‘hello’ in the corridor.

Thanks for the opportunity to be part of such an innovative project – I love it!

Katy

I am always surprised to see the letters ‘Dr.’ in front of my name. But I am a doctor. Not the type you’d want on a plane when the stewards shout ‘is there a doctor on-board?!’ for I am (what my friends have coined) a ‘Dr of Bees’. My PhD was based on studying wild pollinators which involved identifying bee species and the flowers they feed on.

So, I was so excited to discover that the Assembly had started keeping bees. I am now a member of the Bee team (by no means secondary) and it is such a privilege. Although I had studied wild pollinator communities, I didn’t have any experience of keeping honey bees. I have learned so much from Nature’s Little Helpers and my fellow Bee team colleagues, thank you for the opportunity.

They are amazing animals. They truly work as a ‘hive mind’, each having specialised roles depending on their age, which they perform so diligently. The youngest bees are the cleaners. They progress through the roles of feeding their larval brothers and sisters, building the combs, guarding the hive and finally flying away to collect pollen and nectar.

Together they create the most meticulous and astonishing collective. And of course there is the Queen. But she doesn’t reign as you might imagine, for it is the worker bees that call the shots. Through cues, they control the queen’s activity – they even decide whether she lays a male or female grub!


Due to their rooftop location and not wanting to disturb the bees, the hives are not open to the public, although if you look carefully you might spot one of them gathering pollen around Cardiff Bay.

Visit the Senedd and Pierhead: Cadw Open Doors 2016

What is Open Doors?

On 10 September 2016 the National Assembly for Wales will be offering exclusive access to the public as part of Cadw’s annual Open Doors event.

While the Senedd and Pierhead are open to the public throughout the year, Open Doors visitors will be able see what happens behind the scenes in some areas not usually open to the public.

Senedd and Pierhead buildings from outside. Interior of Senedd showing the funnel and seats.

Where is it?

The Open Doors tour will take visitors on a journey through the history of both Cardiff Bay and the National Assembly for Wales.

It will include all three buildings within the Assembly’s Cardiff Bay estate:

The Pierhead
Start your journey through time in 1897 with the Pierhead, an iconic late Victorian building where visitors can discover the history of Cardiff Bay. The Pierhead is now a museum and exhibition centre, open to the public seven days a week.

Ty Hywel
The original home of the Assembly’s debating chamber, Ty Hywel hosts the offices of both Assembly staff and Members.

The Senedd
Celebrating its tenth birthday this year and boasting a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence, the Senedd is the heart of democracy in Wales. A modern parliamentary building and home of the debating chamber of the Assembly, the Senedd is also one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable buildings in Wales. Visitors will learn about the history and the architecture of the buildings and discover more about the work of the National Assembly for Wales.

This is the last stop on the tour and to celebrate the Senedd’s tenth birthday, Open Doors visitors this year will also receive a free tea or coffee from the Senedd’s Oriel café.

Coffee cup in the Senedd

Address: National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff bay, Cardiff, CF99 1NA

When?
10 September 11:00am

How do I book my place on the tour?
Booking is essential as we can only offer a limited number of places on this exclusive behind the scenes tour.

Please call 0300 200 6565 or email contact@assembly.wales to book your place.

Further information

Cadw Open Doors is an annual celebration of the architecture and heritage of Wales and is part of European Heritage Days, which take place in 50 European countries each year in September.

For more information, including other participating attractions around Wales, please see the Cadw website.

Visiting the National Assembly for Wales

If you can’t make it on 10 September you can still visit the Senedd and Pierhead buildings which are open to the public seven days a week.

The Senedd regularly hosts a variety of events with performers, singers, exhibitions and activities happening throughout the year so come along and see what’s happening!

You could also find out who your Assembly Members are and how they represent your interests in the Senedd’s debating chamber.

The Senedd is currently open:

Monday – Friday 9:30 – 16:30

Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays (all year) 10:30 – 16:30

Further information for visitors, including information for those with an Autistic Spectrum Condition can be found on our website.

National Assembly for Wales Trip Advisor webpage

Senedd Facebook page

 

Pierhead building with open door

GovCampCymru 2015 #gccy15 at the Pierhead

This year, GovCampCymru held its second event in the Pierhead, which forms part of the National Assembly for Wales’ estate in Cardiff Bay.

It was a glorious day – but the building took centre stage for most of it:

GovCamp is an event where people come together to discuss, create and innovate, looking specifically at how technology, new thinking and public services can improve society.

It runs on an ‘unconference’ basis, where the agenda for the day is decided by people proposing workshop or discussion topics on the day.

The event in Wales is co-ordinated by the Sartori Lab, along with the help of scores of volunteers and sponsors. An overview of the day is available on the Good Practice Wales Pinterest board.

If you are interested in an overview of what was discussed on the day, you can view the Google Doc session notes.

If you work in the public sector and are interested in keeping the flame of innovation and discussion going between annual events, Sartori Lab have arranged a Bara Brith Camp (which was an outcome of one of the sessions).

This time, a number of Assembly staff went along, each interested in a different aspect of public service. Here are their comments about the day.

 

Dean George, Digital Media Manager @deanogeorge
(centre, pictured with @dailingual to the left and Dyfrig from @GoodPracticeWAO to the right)

150926-GovCampCymru-144

This was my first unconference experience and I really enjoyed the freedom of discussion it afforded everyone there. It ensures that only engaged people remain in dialogue with you and you get some amazing ideas as a result. The great thing about an unconference is that the best conversations can happen in between sessions, perhaps talking over a coffee. These aren’t forced ‘networking breaks’ but fluid and stimulating debates you have to be pulled away from at times. It also helps that people who gave up their Saturday are bound to have passion for this field.

I spent the morning session talking about Welsh language speech to text technology, get in touch with Gareth Morlais (@melynmelyn) if you have ideas on this. I also listened to a session led by the Assembly on how we could make outputs of Assembly Committees more engaging to a wider audience. It seems that having separate Twitter accounts for Committees with different remits is well received but we need to do more to make the reporting side even more engaging. Our Slate reports might be a step in the right direction. This is definitely the format for getting the most out of your time away from the desk, I’d like to see it widely adopted across the public sector. Try using it for your next staff away day!

Helia Phoenix, Senior Digital Media Manager @phoenixlily

150926-GovCampCymru-121

This was my third GovCamp. I’ve been to one in London and two in Wales, and have since spent a lot of time pestering others to join in!

I may be biased, but I’ve vastly preferred the Welsh ones. The content was varied enough for both to encourage people to attend sessions on things they might not know about, plus it deals with the Welsh context, which is different from English / UK national issues.

Talking about how to improve things, with people from Wales and outside it, is a great way to spend a day!

Although I attended interesting sessions throughout the day, by far my favourite part of GCCY was the time spent in the pub afterwards having the blockchain explained to me by @SymRoe of Democracy Club and James Cattell @jacattell from the Cabinet Office, using various metaphors involving buying rounds of drinks, free shots (big thanks to those two for preserving with me!). Two hours later, I think I got it …

 

Kevin Davies, Public Engagement Manager @kevo_davies

150926-GovCampCymru-273

Helia and I went to GovCampCymru last year, and liked it enough that not only did we want to go again, but we also felt that it would be a really good fit to hold GovCamp at the National Assembly, and have more people from the Assembly be a part of the day. This time around we were joined by a couple of people from our online and social media team, and representatives from our translation and legislation teams. It was great to be a part of the event again.

The thing that struck me last year was how great it was to have so many positive and knowledgeable people in the same room at the same time, people who are passionate enough to give up their time on a Saturday. It’s a great was to share practical ideas – as well as getting into massive ideological debates! This year was no exception, and as was the case last year, there was a real good mix of issues discussed including the accessibility of committee reporting outputs, how to progress the digital agenda in Wales, promoting elections, and the future of democracy…a lot of stuff to try and fix in four hour long workshops!

Tom Jackson, Scrutiny Support Team Clerk

150926-GovCampCymru-199

I pitched a workshop on ‘Better reporting? Improving the accessibility of Committee Outputs.’ The original aim of this session was to get a range of ideas about how we could make the outputs of committee scrutiny more accessible/attractive/digestible, with a particular focus on more innovative ways of publishing information and how they’ve evaluated the success of those methods. However, in keeping with the nature of GovCamp, the discussion didn’t explicitly follow this direction. Instead, one of the themes of the session was that a bigger issue for the Assembly was how we select content for particular audiences, rather than how we present it.

Attendees suggested that there are three different audiences for Committee outputs:

  1. Government Ministers/Civil Servants, who need to be convinced of the validity of recommendations (with evidence for/against them);
  2. People who were involved in an inquiry, who want to know what difference their evidence/input had on the Committee’s conclusions. It may be worthwhile asking such people how they want this information to be presented. Some people may want information to be presented in an Easy Read format;
  3. The wider public- who may be more interested in ‘what happens next,’ than what the Committee recommended/reported. Such people will find jargon very difficult to understand. They will primarily be interested in how Government responses to Committee scrutiny may affect their lives. Answering this may require more of a network/link between “the people writing reports” and “the people delivering the recommendations.”

 

Gruffydd Jones, Translation Deputy Business Enhancement and Change Manager

In terms of language technology, there was an interesting session pitched by Gareth Morlais from the Welsh Government on the possibility of crowdsourcing speech-to-text technology.

Given our work on language technology and continued interest in the field, we are well placed at the Assembly to participate in any developments on speech-to-text in the future and we’d be keen to explore how we could participate in any crowdsourcing projects.

 

Alison Flye, Digital Information Assistant @teaflye

(Alison is second left)

150926-GovCampCymru-224

This was my first experience of an “unconference” and I think the format worked well. At the sessions I attended everyone was fully engaged and the atmosphere of enthusiasm was infectious – there was a great buzz in the building. GovCampers took over the iconic Pierhead for the day, which meant there was was plenty of space for 100 attendees and 20 workshops.

My first session was about citizen campaigns using digital. People know how to complain about problems with their rubbish or a park, but not about digital issues. How can we change this? (Part of the problem is that actually, many people still don’t know to approach their councils and councillors, even about parks, but that’s something for another workshop.) After that I attended Dave McKenna’s (@localopolis) session on Making Democracy More Like Rock n’ Roll. A worthy ideal if ever there was one, and a great session with some useful ideas to take away. Dave has gathered everyone’s input together and blogged about it already.

 

The following images were all taken by WNBishop on Flickr.

150926-GovCampCymru-107

150926-GovCampCymru-225

150926-GovCampCymru-311

150926-GovCampCymru-350

150926-GovCampCymru-264

150926-GovCampCymru-300

150926-GovCampCymru-239

150926-GovCampCymru-324

150926-GovCampCymru-221

150926-GovCampCymru-271

150926-GovCampCymru-164

150926-GovCampCymru-123

International Women’s Day 2012

National Assembly for Wales
International Women’s Day 2012
08 March 2012

As the National Assembly’s first female Presiding Officer, I am committed to ensuring that everyone in Wales has a say in the way our country is run. In particular, I want Welsh women’s voices to be heard and their views valued. I’d therefore like to invite you to join me on Thursday 08 March to mark International Women’s Day at the Assembly in Cardiff Bay.

This year, the Assembly has been working with the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Institute of Welsh Affairs, the Women’s Institute and the British Council to put together a programme of activities in the Senedd and in the Pierhead.

The day will begin with a breakfast meeting in the Pierhead from 08.30 until 10.30, the first of a series of such meetings that will be held across Wales this year. I will also be hosting a lecture in partnership with the British Council which will begin at 12.00. This will be followed by lunch at 13.00.

The remainder of the day will feature discussion and debate from noted Welsh
women as well as workshops and activities hosted by the Women’s Institute.
Places are limited so we would be grateful if you could confirm your attendance at
the breakfast, lunchtime lecture or full programme of activities.

We look forward to seeing you there.

RSVP: Call 0845 010 5500 or email Assembly.bookings@wales.gov.uk

International Women’s Day 2012

Destiny Africa Children’s Choir return to the Pierhead – 1 November 2011

The National Assembly for Wales is pleased to announce that, following their successful visit last May, the Destiny Africa Children’s Choir will return to Wales to perform in the Pierhead on the evening of Tuesday 1 November.

The performance, as part of their Rhythms of Life European Tour, will give the audience the opportunity to learn of the inspirational story of the children from the Kampala Children’s Centre in Uganda.

A limited number of free spaces are available to see the Destiny Africa Children’s Choir in the Pierhead and can be applied for by contacting Assembly.Bookings@Wales.gov.uk or 0845 010 5500