University at Buffalo (UB) is doing its part to keep bees buzzing in Buffalo. A recent UBNow article talks about the 240,000 bees that have found, and will soon find, a home at the North Campus. Apparently the bee initiative got underway when a professor – David Hoekstra, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences – first found his way to UB.
Upon joining the university, he was asked whether he was interested in starting any new initiatives. Being a beekeeper, with six years under his belt, he felt that he could help to jumpstart bee-friendly practices at the campus. He decided then and there that he could help UB’s mission of sustainability by offering workshops and classes, which would lead to promoting a healthy bee environment. But the idea to get to the programming off the ground didn’t take flight until he came across a student by the name of Alex Dombrowski who was just as interested in beekeeping as Hoekstra, and who was would to help navigate the various start-up channels, including funding, to get the program underway.
Now that the apiary is located on the campus – it was not an easy battle, but eventually everything worked out – there is a new eco energy that abounds. Not only is this a significant step for helping to bolster the bee count, the initiative also provides inroads to study the bees, their habits, and their homes, which is something that will ultimately help to tell the story of the modern day bee.
Moving forward, the beekeepers will be looking for participation from students, and the community, by helping to maintain the bees, inspect the hives, count and treat mites, study the life cycle of the bee, and experience the joys of honey harvesting and the importance of winterizing hives.
If there was ever a project that suits UB’s North Campus, this is it. The campus sits on several hundred acres of land, which was acquired by the State in 1964 to build a “comprehensive campus”. This was once the site of a natural wetland meadow, with remnants that still remain. I’ve said it in the past, and I’ll say it again – UB’s North Campus should shift to an eco-campus, while transitioning more schools and departments to downtown Buffalo. That would be a win-win-win for the city, the region, and the planet.
For more information on the project, check out this article by Robby Johnson on UBNow.
Lead image by Robby Johnson