Bee club starts up again after one year off

Monitoring the hives is part of the many new initiatives the organization pursues this spring

Nearly 25,000 bees are being maintained in hives on the roof of the Center for the Sciences & Innovation building by the reinvigorated bee club. After a year of inactivity, the group wants to reach out to more eco-centered organizations and philanthropic works.

“For the longest time, we’ve just been checking bees, and no one really knows about the club. I’ve always really cared about environmental action and philanthropy, so I’m hoping that the club can raise money and donate it to a local organization that would help with the environment or that is sustainable for the San Antonio area,” said Abbi Bowen, first-year president of the club.

The group tries to emphasize and help others understand the importance bees have on our community and environment by joining other groups on campus. So far, the group intends to unite with Eco Allies and the Gardening Club to support this mission.

“We’re going to plant bee-friendly plants in the community garden. We’re hoping we can do a bigger event where we can combine with bigger clubs. It’s in an early stage, but I think it’s good that we’ve started to think of ideas for the future of the club,” Bowen said.

The club plans on harvesting the honey from the hives in the coming weeks. Due to liability issues, they won’t be selling the honey on campus; however, they would like to be able to share it with people on campus.

“We’re also about to harvest honey from our hives, so we’re really excited about that. We aren’t going to harvest a lot; it’s just going to be a test to see how it is. We’re going to have a little party or something where people can taste the honey that we harvested,” Bowen said.

As the group looks forward, they see their message being spread with the help of the other groups on campus. Once they’ve spread the message to the whole of Trinity, they hope to spread it throughout the San Antonio community.

“I’m excited about getting other environmental groups on campus involved in our issues and generally working as a team in order to achieve more goals. In five years, I can see the Bee Alliance being integrated into the Trinity community by giving honey to on-campus groups and the broader San Antonio community,” said Phillip Trenthem, first-year member of the group.

The group looks after the bees with the help of their advisor, Richard Reed, professor and chair of sociology and anthropology. Because the responsibility of the bees is completely theirs, the group must be sure they check the bees often.

“They’re pretty healthy. I was worried over winter break, because I had to leave them for a month, so I fed them some sugar water to get them through it, and I came back and they were fine. All break I was worried that they were dead. It’s the saddest thing. I see them as creatures I want to help and give them a place to stay where they can thrive,” Bowen said.

Bowen has been interested in bees since high school, even making sure the colleges she looked at had a beekeeping program available. However, Bowen cared for bees in South Carolina, where she says they act much differently.

“I’ve never worked with bees in such a warm climate, where it’s January and the bees are already pollinating. Usually at this time, they’re in their hive and they’re just chilling and surviving,” Bowen said.

As said before, the group wants to make sure the community understands the importance bees have on our lives. To gain more publicity, the group is creating buttons and shirts and wants to start doing more community events.

“There are a lot of projects on campus, and they’re all very important, but I feel like we don’t do a good job of environmental awareness. Trinity preaches a lot of wellness, but I feel like there’s not a lot of action that’s taking place for that, so I would hope that the Bee Alliance would not only increase that awareness of environmental protection, but also sustainable practices,” said Madelyn Gaharan, a first-year member of the group.

Gaharan didn’t intend to join the club when she started at Trinity but found out about it through an internship she was working on with Reed.

“It’s been really fun. I’m an environmental science major, but I want to concentrate on bugs. Bugs are important,” Gaharan said.

Overall, the group wants the Trinity community to be aware of the work they are doing with the bees and why it is important. The group will continue to take care of the bees but will do so with the added drive to incorporate their mission with the mission of other environmental groups on campus.

“As beekeepers, we really care about the environment and the way everything in the environment works together. In my mind, I see the world as one hive, and we’re all just in it, helping each other out,” Bowen said.

The Trinity Bee Alliance welcomes anyone who is  interested to check out their Facebook page and their Instagram, both of which can be found with the handle @beesoftrinity. You can also email Abbi Bowen if you’d like more information about the club at abowen@trinity.edu.