Since Bees in the D installed four beehives outside of Michigan’s Department of Natural Resource’s Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC) in 2018, bee education has swarmed the Detroit area.
Over the years, Brian Peterson-Roest, founder of Bees in the D, has worked with Linda Walter, director of the Outdoor Adventure Center, and Missy Sharp, recreation coordinator, to create opportunities to educate future beekeepers, adults, students and children alike on the vital role bees play in our ecosystem.
“It’s important to educate the public on the importance of bees,” said Peterson-Roest. “They affect agriculture, biodiversity, wildlife habitats and so much more.”
In 2019, the team decided to expand bee education by adding cameras in and outside the beehives, which would be projected on screens inside the OAC. The project came to a halt because they needed to mount a solar panel on top of a tall pole in order to power the cameras, an expensive proposition.
“We were stopped dead in our tracks when we didn’t have the budget for a pole, Walter said. “The whole project was at a standstill.”
Sharp reached out to a former classmate and friend, Thomas McVicar, senior safety and health specialist at DTE Energy, who was able to get the project back on track.
“Something as simple as a pole for us can be a huge obstacle for someone else,” McVicar said. “My wife is a teacher and knowing the importance of education, I knew I had to do something. My only thought was, ‘how can DTE help?’”
Within two weeks, DTE deployed a crew to the OAC; the crew brought a pole and had it up just a few hours later.
While Peterson-Roest was impressed by the crews’ work, their concern for the bees themselves made a lasting impression. Peterson-Roest added, “It’s a true testament to DTE when I received a call the morning of the pole installation from a lineman asking, ‘Are they okay? They won’t be disturbed or harmed?’”
“DTE understood they were a part of something much larger – an opportunity to educate thousands on the importance of bees,” Sharp said.
The project, set to open fall 2019, will offer OAC patrons year-round interactive education programs as well as a chance to view live video from the beehives outside.
For more information on the Outdoor Adventure Center, visit https://www.michigan.gov/oac