The Honey Bee Initiative
A joint partnership between the School of Business and the College of Science

About the Initiative

The School of Integrative Studies (SIS), housed within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at George Mason University, is pleased to sponsor The Honey Bee Initiative.

The Fairfax Campus Apiaries were established in 2012 with a Patriot Green Fund grant from the Office of Sustainability. SIS expanded the project adding a class on Beekeeping and Sustainability, which had 100 students on the waitlist in Spring 2013. To accommodate the hands-on course work involved in this initiative, SIS funded a second apiary, located near Buchanan House on Mason's Fairfax campus.

Goals

Inspired by Mason’s vision to be “the best University for the world,” The Mason Honey Bee Initiative contributes to growing efforts related to honey bee sustainability in the region by:

  • Educating students and the community about the interdependence of pollinators and human food sources, and modeling best-practices in the management of honeybee hives.
  • Advancing global sustainability initiatives and economic alternatives for underserved regions.
  • Collaborating with public and private groups on honey bee sustainability including proper queen selection and regional distribution.

Accomplishments

  • The apiary serves as a demonstration station for courses in biology and art, with opportunities for courses University-wide (e.g. engineering, communication, nutrition) to participate.
  • We collaborated with communities in the Colombian Andes and Peruvian Amazon to develop social entrepreneurial bee keeping programs preserving the self-sustaining livelihood of several indigenous groups.
  • We established on-going, reciprocal relationships with organizations such as the Beekeepers Assoc. of Northern VA and Sweet Virginia Foundation enhancing hands-on learning opportunities for students and community members.
  • The City of Fairfax used our apiary as a model to set a beekeeping standard for the city.
  • We cultivated entrepreneurial relationships with the full support of Mason's Development Office and held a “taste of honey” alumni event and crowdfunding in Fall 2013.
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