Have you heard the buzz?
Discovery Place Nature
It’s a big weekend for Discovery Place Nature. On Saturday, we will be unveiling three new beehives as part of our April Creature Feature and Earth Day celebration.
We want to thank Caroline and Addy, two UNC Charlotte students and Levine Scholars, for helping us bring bees to the Museum as part of their grant project. Read their story below.
Caroline Fowle first became aware of Bee Downtown’s mission in the summer of 2015 when reading a feature article in Our State Magazine. Impressed by the direction Bee Downtown was taking to address one of the most pressing environmental and agricultural issues of our time, Caroline immediately reached out to founder and fourth-generation beekeeper Leigh-Kathryn Bonner to see how she could get involved.
Bee Downtown is tackling the bee crisis by providing companies a unique marketing opportunity through the purchase of bee hives. In addition to maintaining the hives of its partnering companies, Bee Downtown engages with the community by hosting tours, visiting schools and supporting local farmers and pollinator gardens.
Addy Goff joined the team in the fall of 2016. In addition to helping launch the UNCC Community Garden two years prior, Addy also was one of four UNC Charlotte undergraduate students invited to attend the Produce Marketing Association’s Tech Knowledge Conference in Santa Clara, California. These experiences furthered her passion for integrating marketing strategies to promote sustainable practices in agriculture.
As Levine Scholars at UNC Charlotte, Caroline and Addy have chosen to use a grant from the Leon Levine Foundation totaling $16,000 to help make Charlotte a more bee-friendly city through the installation of an observation hive and two working hives at Discovery Place Nature in partnership with Bee Downtown.
“We are confident that we have brought together the very best members of the community and are establishing relationships that will outlive our time at UNC Charlotte," Caroline and Addy said. "As a blossoming startup that grew from a class project at NC State, Bee Downtown will bring the skills and passion required to address the problem we are trying to tackle. Furthermore, Discovery Place’s experience and reputation provide the resources, support, and staff necessary to create a strong and reliable flagship for bees here in the Queen City. As Levine Scholars, we are thrilled to establish this partnership which will undoubtedly continue to give back to the Charlotte community long after our graduation this May.”
Simple Ways to Get Involved
- Plant a pollinator garden.
- Support your local beekeeper and purchase local honey.
- Build a bee hotel for solitary bees.
- Support your local farmers market.
- Join your local bee club and become a certified beekeeper.
- When possible, educate the public about the importance of pollinators and what they offer our environment.
Why Honey Bees?
- Honey bees all over the world are dying at alarming rates due to a number of factors like the increase of pesticides and parasites, decrease in habitat and lack of proper nutrition.
- Honeybees are the world’s number one pollinator.
- Over 1/3 of all our food is produced in some part due to honeybees.
- Without the honeybees, the world can only sustain itself for 4 years.
- In 2016, the United States alone lost over 44% of its honeybees.
Fun Facts About Bees
- By herself, one honeybee makes 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her entire life, but together a hive can generate over 80 pounds of honey in just a matter of months.
- The queen bee can live up to five years and her role is to fill the hive with eggs. She is the busiest in the summer months, when the hive needs to be at its maximum strength; she lays up to 2500 eggs per day.
- 16 ounces of honey require 1,152 bees to travel 112,000 miles and visit 4.5 million flowers.
- If honeybees were paid minimum wage for their work, a jar of honey would cost us $182,000.
- Honeybees contribute $8 to $10 billion to the U.S. economy yearly.
- Honeybees can fly up to 15 miles per hour.
- The practice of honey collection and beekeeping dates back to the Stone Age, as evidenced by cave paintings.