Beekeepers Partner with Corporations to Create Pollinator Habitat

CATCH THE BUZZ      By Kim Flottum    December 10, 2014

The Ohio Environmental Education Fund (OEEF) has awarded a grant “Beekeepers Collaborating to Create Pollinator Habitats” to beekeeping groups.  The project is a partnership of Medina County Beekeepers Association, The Ohio State Beekeepers Association, and the Pollinator Stewardship Council.  The project had to secure land partners for the habitat development prior to applying for the grant.  The grant will fund the development of pollinator habitat on 36 acres of corporate land in northeast Ohio and southwest Ohio.  Four corporate land partners have committed to creating and maintaining the habitat for a minimum of five years. The land partners are CEMEX, Inc., Remington Products Company, the Department of Veterans Affairs in Dayton, and Professional Services Providers of Wadsworth, LLC.  The grant will act as a catalyst to educate corporations, their employees, and customers about the need for pollinator habitat, connect beekeeping groups with local corporations, enhance public/private collaborations, and inspire land use changes in support of pollinator habitat.

“Lawns around corporate facilities are a grass desert for pollinators. They do not conserve water, add to the expenses of corporations in weekly mowing,  add to carbon emissions, and  have increased lawn chemical use that can cause concerns in the watershed.” stated Michele Colopy, Program Director of the Pollinator Stewardship Council, and regular contributor to Bee Culture Magazine.

“This grant is a wonderful opportunity for our local beekeeping clubs to build collaborative relationships with local businesses in order to support the health of our community.  Additional forage for pollinators will increase honey production, and support the pollinators so important to the floral success of our community gardens.” commented Terry Lieberman-Smith, Vice President of the Ohio State Beekeepers Association.

The pollinator habitat will be created on private land, however beekeepers will have access to it.  The land partners will contract with local beekeepers to place bee hives on the property.  The grant will also provide nesting areas for native pollinators.  Citizen Scientists will survey the land twice a year for the five years noting the diversity of insects, and other animal life that are utilizing the habitat.  This data will be available in a public database.  Educational materials will be provided to the corporate partners to share with their employees and customers.  The local bee clubs will provide scholarships to four 4-H students within the land partner areas, with the 4-H students writing articles for the corporate newsletters about honey bees and their beekeeping experience. The beekeeping partners will encourage other corporations to convert their grassy lawns into pollinator habitat through presentations about the project.

Peggy Garnes, President of the Medina County Beekeepers Association and advertising Director for Bee Culture Magazine, expressed excitement at the connections made by this program.  “This is a wonderful partnership of beekeepers and corporations coming together to support honey bees and native pollinators so important to our local beekeepers, gardeners, and farmers.”

As the program had to secure land partners prior to applying for the grant, the project cannot accept any other land partners at this time.  The Pollinator Stewardship Council, who wrote the grant, expects this project will serve as a pilot program adaptable in other states.  If your State Beekeeping organization is interested in a similar program in your state, contact the Pollinator Stewardship Council directly at progdirector@pollinatorstewardship.org or 832-727-9492.

Available online at http://live.ezezine.com/ezine/archives/1636/1636-2014.12.10.11.40.archive.html

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