Macaulay Honors College students have installed a beehive in an elevated area of the building’s outdoor space, part of a joint initiative designed to support experiential education and foster sustainable educational environments in New York City.
Most people think of honeybees as an adorable food source (which is why European settlers brought hives here in the first place), but science educators view them as a fascinating way to demonstrate the importance of a thriving ecosystem.
“Keeping hives on campus will invite conversation, education and awareness about bees and inspire conservation efforts,” says Sarah Kornbluth, a Bee Ecologist and Field Associate at the American Museum of Natural History. “Honey bees are not not native to our continent, but they are fascinating insects and important pollinators for many plants.”
Students of the Macaulay Green Initiative took time out of finals preparations to work with Macaulay building staff on choosing a safe and appropriate site, assembling the hive boxes and depositing the bees and their queens.
“We want to bring awareness to the importance of pollinators like honeybees, but also other pollinators like butterflies, moths, and birds,” explained student group leader Angela Chi ’20. “They play a huge role in helping our crops bear fruits and vegetables that we enjoy everyday. A large part of learning about bees is being able to interact with them and having the responsibility to take care of them.”
A dedicated roster of trained student volunteers will tend to the hive during the summer to ensure that it thrives.
Funding for Macaulay’s beekeeping efforts was facilitated by Sustainable CUNY, which encourages campuses to become agents of change through project-based programs. The organization offered Macaulay’s Sustainability Council $1,000, funded by PepsiCo, to develop a new program. The students of the council proposed the beehive, and have led the beekeeping effort.