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!
- 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
- 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
- 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!
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