Garrett Tucker started beekeeping from a young age with his dad, who is also a beekeeper.
“I love bees because I really love their role in the environment, and I think that they're essential,” Tucker, a UNC junior, said. “Beekeeping kind of allows me to have a role within keeping bees around and pollinating plants and making sure the seasons keep going.”
Today, Tucker serves as the social media outreach officer for the Carolina Beekeeping Club.
The club is a group of students dedicated to learning about and raising awareness of the environmental importance of bees. The team cares for two hives at the top of the FedEx Global Education Center.
The Carolina Beekeeping Club meets every two weeks, where members conduct hive checks. They look at the health of the hive, the brood and the queen, as well as feed the bees sugar water solutions.
Adrienne Lambert, a junior and the president of the Carolina Beekeeping Club, said the club was created by students who had a passion for beekeeping and wanted to bring it to the UNC campus.
“They made it their mission to teach other students how to be a beekeeper and talk about pollinator health,” Lambert said.
Members do not need prior beekeeping experience, as the organization functions as a teaching club, Lambert said. The club teaches its members how to do hive checks and properly use the equipment. Members also develop general knowledge about bees and beekeeping.
Even when the group couldn't meet in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the club found ways to stay connected. Virtual events, such as a bee trivia night on Zoom, kept the club close, Tucker said.
In addition to doing hands-on work with the hives on campus, the Carolina Beekeeping Club works with Bee Campus USA, a national organization dedicated to raising awareness of the health of pollinators as well as their role in the environment.
Geneva Green, who works on the specialty gardens grounds department for UNC through Bee Campus USA, said the organization has designated areas on campus to plant pollinator-friendly plants and establish appropriate practices to keep the pollinators healthy.
Bee Campus USA and Carolina Beekeeping Club unite with a common purpose to spread knowledge and passion about pollinators.
“I think the biggest thing I've learned is that bees are honestly just beautiful, gentle creatures and that we should all love and respect them,” Tucker said. “That's the best thing I've learned from the club, and I think that's our message that we get out to a lot of people too.”
Both Lambert and Tucker look forward to getting more hives and having new people join the club.
“It's really nice because you're with other people who are very passionate about bees and the environment, and they're excited,” Lambert said. “They're the people who show up to club meetings with people who stay throughout the years, really love what they do and, like, are excited to teach more people.”
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