As a growing global company, we regularly assess our impact on the environment, our role in communities, and our workplace culture. So when The Peoples Bees, a Denver-based urban beekeeping project, approached us about sponsoring one of their honey bee hives, we were—we have to say it—bee-side ourselves 🐝.
“They had us at ‘bee-to-bee partnership’,” says Michael Parness, Outward Hound CMO, in response to a pun in The Peoples Bees’ proposal referencing a B2B (shorthand for “business-to-business”) relationship.
The Peoples Bees’ mission is to connect the people to the bees through apiculture, education, and advocacy, in that order.
“’Apiculture’ is the technical term for ‘beekeeping’, which is just the beginning of what we do,” explains Christine Webster, founder and director of The Peoples Bees.
“Contrary to popular assumption, honey bees are not native to North America; they were initially imported for the precious honey and wax they produce, and because of their super pollination power, a sizeable portion of our food system now relies on them.”
“[Bees] are considered livestock, which makes the keeper of such livestock a farmer—traditionally a honey farmer. But I don’t believe our country needs more honey;
I believe we need a radical shift in our relationship with our environment, and the wonderful world of bees is plenty captivating to facilitate that.
Despite honey bees being an introduced species in the United States, they are here to stay. “So let’s learn from them!” Christine exclaims.
Spreading the Word
Honey bees are a great segue to learning about the 4,000 or so known bee species native to the United States—of which nearly ¼ come from our home state of Colorado. Here’s how you can support the mission.
Sponsor a Hive
The Peoples Bees offers many paid services, such as group beekeeping experiences, private beekeeping lessons, wasp and bee nest removal, hive hosting, and hive sponsorship; but many of their services are also free, including swarm rescue, educational programs for local institutions, and donations to non-profit organizations—of both the honey and money kinds. Hive sponsorship is what Outward Hound is proud to have enrolled in.
By sponsoring one of The Peoples Bees’ hives, we are funding not only the equipment and maintenance the honey bee colony requires, but also the free educational programs they produce for Denver Public Libraries, Denver Public Schools, and Cherry Creek State Park in Aurora, Colorado.
The programs typically include an overview of pollination, the role of pollinators in ecosystems, and how people can take action to support vulnerable bee populations, complete with a honey tasting and sometimes live honey bees on display. People of all ages enjoy their programs—especially children.
“Children are people at their most impressionable stage in life, and they often come to our events reluctantly curious about insects. With the presence of our live honey bee observation case, every one of our events is an opportunity to create a positively safe, intimate, and memorable learning experience for them. Knowledge really is power, and our kiddos are the future,” says Christine.
“Witnessing a child transition from being horrified by bees to wanting to hold one in a matter of minutes is incredibly special.”
Host a Hive
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Helping adults get comfortable with bees and other insects is a treat, too. If you have a backyard, you may qualify to host one or two of The Peoples Bees’ hives, which would certainly break the ice.
“Most of our hive hosts are 9-to-5 office workers who garden in their spare time as a means to connect with nature. Hosting beehives is a level up,” says Christine.
Hive hosts are property owners who hire a beekeeper to manage hives on their property. The return? Higher garden yields as a result of increased pollination, a share of the hive’s surplus honey, and a private beekeeping lesson with The Peoples Bees.
“However, a common and valid concern amongst people interested in hosting our hives is the interaction between the bees and their pet. Some dogs intuitively stay clear from hive entrances, but others may need to take a sting to learn the hive’s boundaries. As a dog owner myself, I can attest to the potential of dogs co-existing with backyard hives,” says Christine.
Not everyone has the privilege to own land to qualify for hive hosting, which is why The Peoples Bees offers beekeeping experiences at their apiary in Lakewood, Colorado (with flexible payment options if needed).
“We believe access to education and the outdoors is critical to human health and development, so we won’t let a price tag get in the way,” Christine explains.
Pollen Love with Bees 🐝
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As a sponsor of one of The Peoples Bees hives, Outward Hound staff have already had fun voting on a name for the hive—The Buzz Shack—and learning fascinating facts about bees through The Peoples Bees’ Instagram.
Keep up with the buzz by giving them a follow and visiting their website at www.thepeoplesbees.com.
As part of our partnership with The Peoples Bees, we will be publishing content related to beekeeping and pets throughout the rest of this year.