Lincoln Land Community College received a gift of two honey bee hives this summer that were installed on campus just in time for the start of the fall semester. The interest in bringing the bees to campus stemmed from a collaborative effort between the Sustainability Committee, Facilities Services, and Community Education. Non-credit beginner and advanced beekeeping classes run throughout the year and are led by Dr. Stuart Jacobson who will be caring for the hives. The bee hives are a welcome addition to his programming and afford the opportunity for hands-on, experiential learning. This past week participants dressed in bee suits evaluated and diagnosed the health of the colony, and performed tasks to support the longevity of the hives.
In addition to enhanced education, the bees that make their home in the hives perform critical pollination to the community garden and prairies on campus. The forty-two raised beds and two high tunnels where more than two dozen varieties of vegetables are grown rely on pollination to produce fruits. In fact, one out of every three bites of food we consume owe thanks to honey bee pollinators. Furthermore, after first establishing an acre of prairie in 1998, the campus is now home to 15 acres of prairie teeming with native flowers who need their pollen transported to other flowers in order to reproduce and make seeds.
In the future, credit classes will be able to incorporate the bee hives into their academic learning and Community Learning will be able to expand their class offerings.