On Saturday, April 25, the grounds of St. Augustine’s, Kingston, became home to a hive of 10,000 bees, in their latest initiative.
The Rev. Beth Sherman, vicar, has long been interested in bees, but has not actually kept them until now. She teamed up with friends of the congregation, Judy and Diane Landry, to take a beekeeping class, and began to make plans. Now that the hive has arrived from Georgia, they are keeping an eye on the queen, hoping that she and the hive will accept their new home.
When the hive is fully established, the bees will begin producing honey, and it is expected that the honey can be harvested starting in 2021. Sherman would like to expand this effort, bringing in more hives, and selling the honey. She and her fellow keepers are thinking of “Wholly Honey” for a brand name.
Bees play a critical role in the natural world, and in the production of our food, as primary pollinators. Recently bee populations have been in decline due to pesticides, environmental issues, and other problems. The hive at St Augustine’s will require careful monitoring to help it stay healthy and to thrive.
St Augustine’s occupies an acre of land on the University of Rhode Island campus, and the congregation is committed to the stewardship of that land as God’s creation, having had it recently certified as a Natural Wildlife Habitat. A butterfly garden has been planted and earlier in April, bat houses decorated by the congregation’s children were installed.