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

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.

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Goals

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.

Accomplishments

  • 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.
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