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Honeybee Project Provides a Green Education
The University's urban campus may seem like an unlikely place to have a honeybee project, but two beehives started by students, faculty, and staff are helping to show that beekeeping is environmentally responsible and can produce healthy food.
"Bees are the best pollinators," says Kate McManus, director of building operations and food service at the University and overseer of the apiary project, located in the Old St. Paul's Cemetery next to the Medical School Teaching Facility and Health Sciences Facility I. "They collect pollen and make the honey from flowers and plants close to the hive and, therefore, the honey that is produced assists your immune system from the local allergies."
McManus notes that the project has the support of Old St. Paul's Church and the Center for Integrative Medicine at the School of Medicine. Local honey is considered the perfect health food and is easily harvested and grown. The honeybee project is sponsored by the Wellness Hub, a University program that promotes wellness and academic-life balance.
"We want to teach students, faculty, and staff that beekeeping is environmentally responsible," McManus says. "By becoming a backyard beekeeper, you help the environment by your bees pollinating trees, flowers, veggies, and fruits in our neighborhood. It is a win-win."
The honeybee project began in February when volunteers were asked to construct the hives and install the first bees and their queen. McManus says one of the hives has flourished, while the other had an inactive queen and suffered setbacks. Participants hope the bees will produce enough honey to survive the winter. Additional honey would be used as food.
"Hopefully we'll be selling the honey in the Campus Center as one of our environmental wellness initiatives," McManus says.