Meet Bernheim’s Volunteer Bee Team

By Wren Smith

Nearly twenty years ago, Bernheim Volunteer Naturalists, Bernie Roach, Mac Howard, Helen Fenske, and several others helped bring a beekeeping program back to Bernheim after a long hiatus. Not only did they succeed at reestablishing working beehives, but the pollination, education and sweet edible rewards that came with those hives certainly made visits to Bernheim even more enjoyable.

If you’ve bought bear hug trail treats at Isaac’s Café recently, you may have tasted the honey from those bees. Last year while evaluating our beekeeping goals and ambitions, it became clear that to meet our goals and make our efforts sustainable, we needed to enlist more of our Volunteer Naturalists into our Beekeeping efforts. Wisely, Patrice Bell “drafted” several of our new and seasoned naturalists into the Bernheim Bee Team. Some, like Volunteer Naturalist Ray Schaaf, have been a beekeeper for over 40 years. Others, like Rob Wills and Dick Dennis had never peeked inside a beehive before. They all agree, it’s an adventure!

Volunteer Naturalist Leslie Senn has been documenting the Bernheim Bee Team’s progress, and you are invited to follow along on social media (@bernheimforest). Not only will you learn about honeybees, but you may also learn about mason bees, leafcutter bees and why they are important. Stay tuned – things are about to be buzzy!

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