I want to thank you for your dedicated support in 2021 and wish you a hap-bee and healthy New Year!
For the past two years, humans and bees have lived in a rapidly changing world, and together we faced many challenges. The pandemic has kept us cautious and concerned for our loved ones and livelihoods. Extreme weather events—from unprecedented forest fires to hurricanes and tornadoes—have devastated natural environments and the communities that surround them. Ongoing threats like chemical pesticide use and loss of habitat have continued to threaten bee populations; 40% of honey bee colonies are not making it through the winters, and the American Bumble Bee, which has suffered a 90% population decline, is now a contender for protection under the Endangered Species Act.
The good news is that despite these hard times, The Bee Conservancy (TBC) has made incredible strides in our mission to protect our precious pollinators and their habitats. Thanks in large part to your support and passion, we were able to achieve so much in 2021 and I am proud to share just a few exciting milestones that made this year particularly impactful:
- Our Bee Sanctuary on Governors Island in New York City served an estimated 5,000 visitors this year, had dozens of native grasses and flowers installed, hosted regular educational hive inspections and special events like the JuBeeLee and Urban Farm Tour, installed a gorgeous new mural depicting several bee species, and is now the home of a Pollinator Pavilion designed by Harrison Atelier and the Pratt Institute, built with machine-learning monitoring to track native bees.
- Speaking of Bee Sanctuaries, we opened a wonderful new one at the Hell’s Kitchen Farm project, a rooftop farm in Manhattan that provides food for the local community members in need.
- With the help of Brooklyn Woods—which trains low-income New Yorkers for careers in woodworking—we produced exclusive, hand-crafted native bee homes to support bee health and safety for leafcutter, mason, and small carpenter bees, and gifted 460 of them to 370 community, nonprofit, environmental, food justice and educational groups (30% of which were K-12 schools) as part of our Sponsor-a-Hive program.
- We launched our first scholarship to eCornell’s prestigious Master Beekeeping Certificate program to foster the growth of mid-level beekeepers and ensure their best practices help maintain strong colonies and healthy local ecology.
- Through outreach campaigns to legislators, a published op-ed piece, participating in public panels, and testifying before the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee in Albany, we joined forces with the Natural Resources Defense Council to support The Birds and Bees Protection Act which intends to curb the use of harmful, neonicotinoid insecticides in New York State.
- TBC’s Always Bee Learning series launched with Hive Jobs, an adorable and educational cut-and-color activity sheet for kids showcasing a few of the many roles a honey bee plays throughout its life in the colony
- We got a lot of media buzz, with headlines in The New York Times, Forbes, TreeHugger.com and more, as well as celebrity shout outs on The Drew Barrymore Show and from Ashton Kutcher’s APlus media.
- Looking to the future, we announced our 2022 From the Ground Up campaign, focused on protecting ground-dwelling bees, which make up 70% of the world’s 20,000 bee species.
- Our human hive expanded, with the hiring of an operations manager, development director, apiary manager, and community science coordinator. These amazing talents are going to great lengths to expand TBC’s mission, and we’re so grateful for their hard work.
Your support is indispensable to our work building a healthier, more resilient future for all. Through education, action, and advocacy, together we can promote pollinator security and safeguard the environment.
If you can, please give today.