Moraine Valley Community College has partnered with local beekeeper, Frank Saballus, to install an apiary in its Nature Study Area on campus. The bees will benefit the environment and hopefully produce honey within the next few years.
Having an apiary, or collection of beehives, on campus has been an interest of different faculty groups (biology, chemistry, culinary arts) for years. This past year, two students from the college’s Go Green! Club explored and researched this topic as part of the EcoLeaders Training and Projects program through the South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium Student Sustainability Summit. Stephenie Presseller, Moraine Valley sustainability manager, contacted Saballus to discuss a potential partnership.
“Bees are pollinators first and foremost. Having them on our campus will help our prairie and other plants reproduce and thrive. Secondly, honey! We hopefully will be reaping the benefits of their work within three years,” she said.
Earlier this month, Saballus installed—and will manage—three beehives in the Nature Study Area close to 107th Street and Kean Avenue, distanced from people. After it’s determined the site on campus is viable for beehive success, the college will decide how to proceed, including details on the harvesting and processing of honey.
For those who are afraid of bees, fear not. They are back in the prairie away from the main campus, which should be mainly accessed by faculty-led programming. Honey bees also are docile and not likely to sting unless provoked, Presseller explained. They’ll be an unnoticed boost to campus life.
“Adding bees to the prairie really enhances our conservation and restoration efforts with that land. As pollinators, they will support the growth and proliferation of our native plants,” Presseller said. “I am so excited that this effort has come to fruition, especially because it was student and faculty driven.”