Cypress Gardens program to help repopulate native honey bees

  • Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cypress Gardens wants more bugs.
Native bugs, that is.
Native honey bees to be specific, the kind that build hives and produce the namesake nectar that is great in everything from hot tea to oatmeal, and a crucial pollinator of native plants.
To that end, the facility is partnering with the Clemson University Extension Office to build a garden designed to attract the native honeybee.
“Our aim is to build a garden that will help attract and restore the native honey bee to the area,” said Cypress Gardens Director Dwight Williams.
Williams and Mark Arena of the Clemson University Extension Office appeared before Berkeley County Council earlier this month to ask council’s approval to accept the awarded $2,000 grant check.
“We were awarded the grant but we have to first get council’s approval in order to accept the check,” Arena said.
According to the Cypress Garden grant application release, the Lowcountry Resource Conservation and Development Youth Environmental Educational Grant Program was created to encourage and enhance natural resources education for the state’s young adults. The $2,000 grant was awarded to Cypress Gardens to help promote, enhance and assist with environmental programs for young people.
Cypress Gardens will use the funds offered by Clemson University to help better understand the vital role of native pollinators and their importance to food and fruit production.
“We’re planting an educational garden of native plants that will complement and accompany the future native fruit orchard at Cypress Gardens,” said Williams. “An abundance of honey bees are crucial to plant and crop pollination and it’s important to help restore the native honey bee population that has been in decline due to more aggressive immigrant bees.”
The bee garden is designed to assist in the pollination of a planned fruit orchard to be built onsite later in the year.
Area students will assist in the maintenance of the garden as Cypress Gardens’ staff will use the program to help educate young people of the vital role native pollinators play in the food chain.
“The garden will allow us the opportunity to connect pollination and fruit development full circle,” Williams said in the application. “There is an underappreciated aspect of our environment that we need to better educate individuals on in order to help preserve and rebuild populations of pollinators not only for food but our natural surroundings.”
More than 10,000 students ranging from kindergarten to high school visit Cypress Gardens annually.

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