Bees

SPECIAL NOTE:
We are rebuilding our bee colony in 2017. Details to follow.

In the spirit of St. Francis, a small group of beekeepers has tended bees with care in a small apiary on the grounds of the Franciscan Monastery since 2006.  Besides the honey – unique to the area – and other hive products, the bees also provide service to the Monastery gardens and the surrounding area through the pollination they perform.

imageThese fascinating little creatures provide an incredible experience to those who care for them; through close interaction with the bees, they gain a more intimate link to their environment.

The Franciscan Monastery Garden Guild (FMGG) has been in charge of the apiary since 2006.  Through the mentoring of Toni Burnham and other area beekeepers, the program has evolved to include almost a dozen hives. The additional hives have begun supplying more local honey for sale in the gift shop, providing support for the FMGG’s mission: to promote and preserve the grounds of the Franciscan Monastery.  In addition to raising funds for the guild, keeping bees also creates unique opportunities for members and the community.

History of Monastery Beekeeping

The Franciscan Friars established a honey bee apiary near the existing greenhouse in the late 1920’s to aid in pollinating their vegetables, crops and orchard.  A vintage 1940’s photo  shows seven beehives south of the greenhouse; however, by the 1960’s there were no longer beehives on site until the Garden Guild reintroduced honey bees in 2006. Today, well over 1 million bees call the Monastery grounds home.

Honey Harvesting

imageCommunity members are able to participate in three honey extraction workshops per year: the important honey flow of spring and early summer and a smaller collection in the fall.  These are fun and educational experiences to learn about bees and get messy helping extract and bottle the sweet product. Extractions are posted on the event calendar.

Volunteering with the Bee Apiaries

Members can take part in a more intimate experience with the bees by volunteering in the apiaries, studying apiculture with local mentors, and perhaps even joining our team of beekeepers. Activities include maintaining the equipment, the apiary site and the bee barn, and collecting and processing hive products.bees_again

Lastly, as urban beekeepers, a large part of our mission is to help promote responsible stewardship of the environment in order to support healthy, happy bees. Contact our lead beekeeper, Joe Bozik, to learn more about volunteering.

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