Lauren’s idea: Saving bees, with education – but she can’t do it alone

May 8, 2012 at 3:33 pm | In Environment, How to help, West Seattle news | 31 Comments

Meet Lauren. She’s been working to learn more about bees, which are so vital to our environment … and yet, to some, so scary, or at least mysterious. She has an idea to help other learn more about them – but she can’t make it happen alone – so she would like to pitch her idea to you, and find out what kind of support is out there:

Seeking fellow West Seattle Neighbors interested in supporting an observational/educational beehive in High Point!

My name is Lauren Englund and I live in the High Point Community. I am also a member of the High Point Neighborhood Association … and I have an idea. I would like to apply for a Department of Neighborhoods Grant (or similar) for the construction of an observational beehive enclosure within one of the park spaces in High Point (perhaps something similar to the enclosure already installed at Bradner Gardens Park). Beehive enclosure’s help to minimize disturbance to the bees, heighten the flight path of the bees (to minimize human/bee interaction), and protect curious children from getting too close to the hives.

The enclosure would be at least eight feet tall and would completely surround the hives – but would have transparent windows, allowing both adults and children to see the hives or potentially a demonstration on how to work with the bees. I have been working with a garden coordinator from the Seattle P-Patch Program who is supportive of the idea. I’ve also communicated a bit with the coordinator of the children’s programs at the High Point Library who would be willing to create an educational children’s bee program associated with a High Point/West Seattle Beehive.

But, there is much more to be done and I need to know how much community support is out there before applying to use community funds for this!

Other ideas/plans:

- communicate with teachers in West Seattle Schools to see if they would be interested in incorporating bees into their curriculum and/or a field trip to visit the hives
- work with art teachers at West Seattle schools to create artwork (perhaps a mosaic?) to display West Seattle artwork and make the beehives pretty
- create another space/opportunity for those who like to work with bees/plants to gather (potentially there is a space available to create a small orchard nearby, but this is still in the works)
- surround beehive enclosure with educational signs relating to bees – honey bees are interesting!
- viewing of Vanishing of the Bees at the High Point Neighborhood House and/or West Seattle Community Center around the opening of the Beehive
- perhaps a neighborhood party for the beehive’s grand opening – lots of honey and bee related fun

Why?

- being part of the solution is a good thing. Bees are in trouble, we need them, and they need our help
- pollination – West Seattle has beautiful plants – let’s keep them happy and pollinated!
- honey – for legal reasons we cannot sell any honey made from a hobbyist beehive, but there will definitely be honey to share and enjoy
- education and community building opportunity
- High Point specific: there is a large Somali population within High Point, and collecting honey is a significant component of African heritage

Timeline:

- October 8th, 2012 = deadline for Small and Simple Grant from the Department of Neighborhoods (I will plan on attending their workshops over the summer to help put this together). This is a matching fund, which means that enough volunteer hours will need to be donated to match the funds requested. Likely amount to be requested = $12,000-$14,000.

- Spring 2013 – build beehive enclosure and create beehives

What I need help with:

- Education! Although enthusiastic, I am a novice at the very best when it comes to beekeeping. I am willing to assume primary responsibility for maintaining the hives if they are created, but I have a lot to learn. So far I have taken Beekeeping 101 and 201 through Seattle Tilth at the Good Shepherd Center. I am signed up for Beekeeping 301 in July, recently attended my first apiary work party at the arboretum, and have a whole bunch of beekeeping books on the coffee table preparing to dominate my summer reading. So, does anybody have any beehives out there in West Seattle? And would you be willing to let me come help you with them?

- Experience and support – if you’re interested in bees and want to learn more, know a lot about bees and want to share, or are just interested in community building events….here’s your chance! If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll keep you in the loop!

Contact information:
Lauren Englund
lcenglund@yahoo.com
616-502-3182

31 Comments

  1. Sounds like a great idea.

    Comment by Cascadianone — 4:52 pm May 8, 2012 #

  2. Lauren, good work, you BZZZZZZZZ,

    Comment by Julie Bryan — 5:17 pm May 8, 2012 #

  3. Love WS peps!

    Comment by WSMama3 — 5:32 pm May 8, 2012 #

  4. What a great idea, Lauren. Bees are so interesting and important to our very lives.
    In the wake of the recent colony die-offs, I’ve read if the bees die, WE die.
    The latest theory for colony collapse is linked to a pesticide that seed corn is treated with before planting.
    But I digress…it’s a cool, creative and loving gesture to the community and the planet, and I’m interested. :)

    Comment by ILoveWestSeattle — 7:38 pm May 8, 2012 #

  5. Hi Lauren, please keep me in the loop. I’n interested but don’t know how I can help. I’m a bee “fan” for lack of a better word, know little about them but know they are endangered. I rejoice when I see a bee – whether in Seattle or out in the wilds.

    Comment by Karen (Old Desolate) — 8:08 pm May 8, 2012 #

  6. If you are interested in a very knowledgeable – however not local – person regarding bees, check with Dr. Jerry Bromenshenk – U of Mt, Missoula, Mt – who has studied bees for years. He has trained them to locate bombs for the army and can probably tell you if this project will really do more than give people an interest in bees. Perhaps a webcam would give people an up close and personal view of the hives without exposing them to possible stings.

    Comment by Sharon — 8:50 pm May 8, 2012 #

  7. Good idea!

    Comment by denbol — 9:00 pm May 8, 2012 #

  8. You are doing amazing work. Thank you for coming up with an idea that protects wildlife, educates our techie kids and immerses them in nature, and builds a multi-cultural community. The new K-5 STEM at Boren would likely love to be a part of this, though it should absolutely be available to every school in WS.

    Comment by evergreen — 9:12 pm May 8, 2012 #

  9. It might be helpful to talk to the folks at shipwreckhoney.com
    It’s a West Seattle honey business, but they definitely would know about apiaries, and West Seattle people usually like to help out their neighbors!

    Comment by Marnie — 9:40 pm May 8, 2012 #

  10. Don’t have time to commit to anything other than coming to visit with my kiddo. It’d be a really great addition to the WS community!

    Comment by NW Momma — 9:41 pm May 8, 2012 #

  11. I think this is an excellent idea! As a homeschool family, we would love to incorporate this into our curriculum, and bring some other families with us. My mom was a beekeeper for a few years in my childhood, an although I have not gone there yet, I see the value and think educating our community is awesome!

    Comment by Hallie — 9:47 pm May 8, 2012 #

  12. I love this idea! I know that local co-op preschools would love to take class field trips to visit and learn about bees. I suggest a next step of making a facebook page for sharing information and gathering resources. You could also get in touch with the Pacific Science center to find out about their bee exhibit, and see if they have any local resources to connect you with. Thank you for spearheading this work!!

    Comment by Morgan Junction Mom — 9:53 pm May 8, 2012 #

  13. Hi Lauren, I live in North Admiral and have 2 hives in my driveway. I’d be happy to have you come by and practice you beekeeping skills.

    Comment by Marguerite — 10:26 pm May 8, 2012 #

  14. I am so in! Will send you email.

    Comment by ChristineB — 10:44 pm May 8, 2012 #

  15. This is a great idea. I love this.

    Comment by Cecelia Lehmann — 12:01 am May 9, 2012 #

  16. Lauren, this is a wonderful idea!!! I would love to be involved helping with the hives if possible–since i cannot have a hive of my own.

    Also, I’m sure my son’s class, at Our Lady of Guadalupe would love to visit!

    So exciting!

    Comment by i'mcoveredinbees — 1:37 am May 9, 2012 #

  17. sent an email Lauren. would enjoy being a part of this with my school who serves the children of high point. very appropriate for our community.

    Comment by laura b — 5:34 am May 9, 2012 #

  18. LAUREN IS AWESOME!!

    Talk about being a change agent in your own community. What a wonderful contribution to a great neighborhood.

    Looks like a lot of great leads and contacts responding here Lauren, well done! Keep up the great work! Thanks to the blog too!!

    For whatever its worth, there are some interesting resources down here in NZ, as it is a long time tradition here…. http://nba.org.nz/

    Bees and love
    T.

    Comment by Tim in New Zealand — 5:49 am May 9, 2012 #

  19. This is awesome! We are thinking about getting a hive for our yard and would love more local opportunities to see bees in action! Great job!

    Comment by WS girl — 7:35 am May 9, 2012 #

  20. Way to go, Lauren! And so happy to see all of the support from the community.

    Comment by Jennifer Hirz — 8:12 am May 9, 2012 #

  21. I love this idea- THANK YOU! I would love to help out any way I can. I don’t know much about bees, but have always wanted to learn. I will contact you!

    Comment by bonbon — 12:15 pm May 9, 2012 #

  22. WOW! Thank you for all of the support guys! And yes, thank you to the blog! I am so touched and impressed by all of the emails and comments I have received from the post…and it hasn’t even been 24 hours! Way to go West Seattle! Man I love this place!!

    I am putting together an email group to keep those interested in the project updated. If you haven’t already, please send me your email address and I’ll be sure to add you to the list! More to come! Immediate goals = outreach to schools, beekeeping practice and grant writing. Thank you to all of the West Seattle beekeepers who have reached out. I will plan on seeing as many of you as I can soon!

    Much Love,
    Lauren
    lcenglund@yahoo.com

    Comment by Lauren Englund — 12:40 pm May 9, 2012 #

  23. we got tipped off to this article earlier today, glad we came and checked it out. Your doing something very good and we love it: Protecting our precious honeybees AND engaging our community in the craft. Its right up our alley and that’s why we are proud to custom build and donate what we hope is your first confirmed Beehive for 2013. When your’e all set-up and ready to roll we will begin your build, just let us know here: daniel@shipwreckhoney.com

    Comment by Daniel Sullivan — 5:50 pm May 9, 2012 #

  24. Wow Lauren! YOU ROCK! What a fabulous idea! You go, Girl! You are part of why WS is such an amazing place to live! We’re lucky to have the Department of Neighborhoods to help support efforts like this too. Have you connected with Community Orchard fruitinwestseattle.org and Sustainable West Seattle sustainablewestseattle.org ? They seem like natural partners. Please also consider providing info about the importance of our native pollinators, many of whom have declining populations – to our detriment. Your efforts to educate people – especially young people – about the importance of bees and all bee-type creatures will only benefit us all. Thanks for your volunteer work!

    Comment by susieq — 6:13 pm May 9, 2012 #

  25. Way to go Lauren. And you were worried about the response… SO exciting. I have trepidation but am hopeful to get over my fear of bees with your help

    Comment by Tim — 8:56 pm May 9, 2012 #

  26. Just sent you an email Daniel. What an amazing offer! A custom built beehive created right here in West Seattle…perfect! Many Many thanks to Shipwreck Honey!!

    Comment by Lauren Englund — 10:01 am May 10, 2012 #

  27. outstanding.

    Comment by Daniel Sullivan — 11:08 am May 10, 2012 #

  28. Yay Shipwreck Honey!

    Comment by Marnie — 11:10 am May 10, 2012 #

  29. Wow Lo! So amazing you are… Keep making the world a better place!

    Comment by Lindsay — 5:41 pm May 11, 2012 #

  30. Great idea, lett me know what kind of support you might need fom a distance. The blog is great!

    Comment by Mary Englund — 5:53 am May 27, 2012 #

  31. What a terrific venture, Lauren. Hopefully you get the local support you need. If we can help, let us know.

    Comment by Jane — 10:43 am May 29, 2012 #

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