Bees Helping Bring Together Families

Monday, September 28, 2015
Feed a Bee Partner Blog Series - Salem4youth

By Steve “Mac” McNair, Director of Development, Salem4youth and recipient of the first Bayer Bee Care Community Leadership Award

 

Salem4youth is a faith-based ministry focused on helping young men who are struggling with family issues. Our students live on our campus in rural Central Illinois and are with us between 9-12 months as they work on familial reconciliation.

 

Part of our vocational program is voluntary participation in our apiary. Most of our young men have had no experience, other than negative, with “bees” (which, a vast majority of the time, end up being wasps that have been intentionally disturbed). Salem’s apiary program allows our students to wear a bee suit, which they love, and work with a staff member to maintain the ministry’s 10 hives.  

 

Hunter Timothy in bee yard 
Our Salem4youth students gain hands-on beekeeping experience.

 

The honey that is harvested from the hives is bottled and either sold or given to donors.  So when the “gals,” what we call the female worker bees, go out and collect the nectar and pollen they need to make the honey, they are actually helping young men on their journey to restoration with their families.

 

Enhancing Forage = Happy and Healthy Bees

 

When your campus is located in Central Illinois, where you find some of the richest farm ground in the world, growers want to farm every inch of soil they can. One challenge is finding/providing enough forage for the bees in our apiary.

 

Through the kindness of multiple benefactors, we were able to secure wildflower seed to plant on about an acre and a half of our 50-acre campus. We sowed the seed in early June, and today in early September, we have a happy group of pollinators, as suitable forage for the bees from our 10 hives has been greatly enhanced!

 

Bayer CropScience and the Feed a Bee program was one of the major suppliers of our seeds. Our plan each year is to increase the amount of forage on our campus to the point where we can increase the number of hives. Being intentional about providing forage is key to our apiary’s success, and we look forward to continue working with the Feed a Bee campaign to help bees and other pollinators thrive.

 

Timmy student in our wildflower field 
Thanks to Feed a Bee, we've been able to increase forage and food diversity for our bees!

 

 

 

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