About 10,000 bees are now settling into their new home in Uniacke Square.
Two hives have been set up at the Salvation Army’s Open Arms location through a partnership with the youth-led social enterprise project BEEA Honey With Heart.
“We have so many kids who live within a short distance of the centre,” said Jen Lohnes, the program coordinator for the Open Arms centre.
“It seemed like just a really natural fit to bring the bees to the kids.”
BEEA has found success since first starting out four years ago. The program now sells honey harvested from the hives at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market with funds going towards scholarships for the youth.
This new hive site is the 6th for BEEA Honey With Heart. They are partnering with the Salvation Army Open Arms for their second community partnership. pic.twitter.com/EITSB3vpoz— Alicia Draus (@Alicia_Draus) August 2, 2019
“We have almost a million bees in our program and between 25 and 35 youth,” said Kim Drisdelle, a facilitator for the BEEA Honey With Heart.
The Uniacke Square location is the sixth site for hives and the second community partnership.
“They are able to do with their hives whatever they want,” said Drisdelle. “We’ll train them in, and then they can use the honey they harvest for whatever they want.”
Lohnes says at this point they have no plans to sell the honey from Uniacke Square– but will be giving it away in the community.
“We want to try and create a way where our kids can intentionally be giving back to their neighbour and friends,” said Lohnes.
At the opening of the site Friday afternoon, a handful of youth donned the beekeeping outfit and stepped right in to learn what it’s all about.
For Khalid Alghdayan, the best part was getting to lift the frames holding the bees out of the hives.
“You have to keep it standing up this way, not sideways,” he said. “Because if you put it sideways the honey would fall down so you have to keep it up.”
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While Alghdayan says he’s never spent time around bees before, he wasn’t scared.
“I’m all protected,” he said.
Local youth like Alghadayan will be responsible for maintaining the hives and caring for the bees.
The program already has over a dozen kids who will be taking part in the beekeeping program on a weekly basis.
“Those are all kids who are in grades five to grade ten and why that’s really special for us is because those are the kids who typically age out of programs,” said Lohnes.
“So this is providing them a great opportunity to stay connected with our centre, to still give them something to do after school and give them something to look forward to with the honey harvest in the fall.”