Connecticut High School Donates Beehives to West Rock Nature Center

agriculture-1867537_960_720Everybody knows that locally produced honey supports both local businesses and the environment since bees are an essential part of our ecosystem and play a crucial role in the pollination of our crops and foods. However, one high school in New Haven, Connecticut, along with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, took their charitable efforts one step further by donating five beehives to the West Rock Nature Center, according to Joe Milone, the ranger on staff at the nature center.

Fundraising companies donated $4.8 million worth of goods to charity last year, but donating beehives is certainly something you don’t hear of every day.

Two weeks ago, the hives harbored just 10,000 bees, but as the queen lays her eggs and they hatch within the following weeks, the population could easily exceed 60,000.

Miranda Holland, a junior at Common Ground, built and painted one of the beehives herself. She is very comfortable approaching the hives. She, along with her classmates and Milone, will help to manage the hives.

“There’s not really a need to be nervous,” Holland told the New Haven Register. “They don’t want to sting you.”

Milone is humbled at the students’ dedication.

“They’re doing all the hard work,” Milone said of the students. “Our job for the city is the easy part. We just provided the space.”

According to Milone, plans have been made to build raised platforms with pollinator gardens in close proximity to the hives in addition to a garden full of wildflowers close by.

Despite the fact that North Dakota produced 33 million pounds of honey in 2013, making it the nation’s largest producer, states all over the country are struggling with their honeybee populations — Connecticut is just one of them. In fact, nearly half of all of Connecticut’s bees were killed last year, according to a story published in the Hartford Courant. Scientists claim that the culprit may be a combination of factors, including disease, parasites, climate change, pesticides, and loss of habitat. These circumstances make donations like Common Ground’s absolutely essential to preserving the ecosystem.

Milone said that the donations are imperative for the park’s native and agricultural plants. He also thinks it will be a great educational opportunity for the general public. As of now, one of the hives has even been placed onto a scale in order to track honey production, although it isn’t likely to get harvested until next year.

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