Don’t BEE Afraid! HoneyFest Saturday, Sept. 10th
This post originally appeared in Contact with Kettering Community Magazine Fall 2016
Research has shown that the bee population has declined significantly since 2008 due to habitat loss, reduced food sources, pesticides, climate change, and bee diseases. But why should the average consumer care about an insect that is commonly feared and thought of as a nuisance?
Bees are pollinators–insects that cause plants to make fruit or seeds. They assist plants in reproducing by carrying pollen from flower to flower. Many crops are dependent on pollinators including pumpkins, watermelons, pears, peaches, plums, apples, and blueberries. Pollinators are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat. The declining bee population will reduce the availability and increase the cost of some of our favorite fruits and vegetables.
“We are holding Honey Fest this year to bring awareness to residents of the plight of bees and other pollinators who are struggling to survive,” explained Kerri Miles, Environmental Education Coordinator at the Habitat Environmental Center. “We have learned that one out of three bites of food has been pollinated by bees. Losing bees could significantly change what we eat and ultimately our quality of life.”
Beekeeping has grown in popularity and the classes held at the Habitat are no exception. More than 120 visitors have attended beekeeping classes since 2012, and approximately 20 bee enthusiasts attend a weekly Bee Club meeting. Although the interest in beekeeping has helped provide safe and controlled environments for bees, it does not allow bees the opportunity to do their job–pollinating.
“Beekeeping is valuable but we really encourage people to introduce natural pollinator habitats in their yards,” said Miles. “That can be as simple as planting flowers or a small garden. Many people plan flowers for curb appeal or because they love to garden, not realizing they are also helping pollinators.”
Kettering has joined in the cause too. While there are thousands of flowers planted in City parks and facilities, the Kettering Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department intentionally planted pollinator gardens in Delco, Pondview, and Southdale Parks.
“As we continue to lose natural habitats to more concrete, housing, business and agriculture, we need to educate ourselves on how we can support and protect bees and other pollinators,” explained Miles.
HoneyFest will include activities and educational sessions for all ages. There will be crafts for children, a small farmers market, and vendors selling honey, beekeeping equipment and products made from beeswax. Bee experts and the Ohio State Master Gardeners will address topics including the importance of pollinators, how common pesticides diminish food sources for bees and how to protect and support the bee population at home. An observation hive will be available for families to safely see inside a hive and lean how bees live. There will be storytelling from The Medicine Man, focused on the health benefits of honey; plus the biggest honey-lover of all will make an appearance–Winnie the Pooh.
HoneyFest: Saturday, September 10th, 11 am-4 pm, Delco Park, FREE Admission
5K HoneyRun: Saturday, September 10th, 8-10 am, Delco Park, Registration fee applies, Visit playkettering.org for details.
For details, call the Habitat Environmental Center at (937) 296-2477 or visit playkettering.org