While sugar and spice may make everything nice, a dollop of honey keeps the good things blooming, growing and sticking around for years to come.
Take, for example, the Glencoe Park District’s very own beehives and 75,000 honeybees that exist behind the Takiff Center.
Two years ago, the addition of the hives was spearheaded by Director of Parks and Maintenance Chris Leiner. The initial goal was for the park district to “do their part” in protecting bees and the environment.
Today, these hives not only keep the environment buzzing along, but the gallons of honey produced are naturally processed, jarred and sold at the Takiff Center with all proceeds benefiting the Park District’s C.A.R.E (Community Access to Recreation for Everyone) scholarship program.
As a result of the scholarship program, families who would not be able to participate in programming due to financial restraints can enjoy enriching programs in the arts, dance, theater, athletics and more – just a sweet side effect of what honey can provide.
The park district couldn’t think of a “more perfect use” of the honey sale proceeds, said Erin Classen, superintendent of communications and marketing.
“It has been a tough year for so many,” Classen said. “This is our way of saying thanks for sticking around. We want all of our patrons to know how much we appreciate their commitment; we want them all to have access to our programming.”
When Meridith Clement, of the Friends of Green Bay Trail, caught wind of the park district’s efforts, she was thrilled.
Not only does Clement applaud the district’s desire to give the gift of recreation to all, but she knows very well the environmental benefits of the hives.
Through an email to The Record, Clement shared some interesting facts. For example, honeybees are responsible for 73 percent of crop pollination; native bees pollinate numerous vegetable crops; most of Illinois native flowering plants and the bee population is rapidly declining due to habitat loss, pesticides and disease – something that can be remedied by actions taken at the park district.
As for Classen, she adds the hives continue to bring something new and exciting to the park district each and every day.
Along with protecting the environment and supporting the C.A.R.E. program, Classen added the entire staff has enjoyed the hands-on process of filtering and jarring their homegrown honey.
“It’s such a cool process,” Classen said. We have all learned so much from this experience and best of all we are helping the environment. This one addition to our grounds has allowed us to educate others on the importance of bees and the honey they make.”
The jars of organic honey are available for $10 and can be purchased at the Takiff Center front desk. For more information, click here.