About the Initiative
The Fairfax Campus Apiaries were established in 2012 with a Patriot Green Fund grant from Mason’s Office of Sustainability. The Honey Bee Initiative has since expanded to 40 apiaries across Northern Virginia.
Inspired by Mason’s vision to be “the best University for the world,” Mason's 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 research including proper queen selection and regional distribution.
- Two teaching apiaries serve as demonstration stations 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 partnered with Fairfax County to install apiaries and wildflower fields at the I-95 landfill which will beautify the landfill, improve water quality, and create a natural bee habitat.