Butterfly Pavilion has contributed over 150,000 bees and 23 new beehives to 5 Fridges Farm as part of a collaborative effort to keep honeybees and provide pollination services to the farm and surrounding areas. The honeybee population is expected to reach 1.5 million once fully established, and the hives will be maintained by a Butterfly Pavilion entomologist, interns and volunteers.
For some, the thought of millions of bees can be alarming. However, honeybees are not aggressive unless they feel there is a threat to their hive or their colony. By leaving bees alone to do their work, they are able to focus on what they love most – searching for pollen and nectar to bring back to the hive. When you see a bee, leave it be, and know that doing so is contributing to a thriving ecosystem in your community.
The Butterfly Pavilion and 5 Fridges Farm beehive collaboration is unique because it involves an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)-accredited zoo and an urban farm working together to expand their overall impact in the community. Both Butterfly Pavilion and 5 Fridges Farm work individually to support pollinators, making them a natural fit as partners.
This partnership aligns with Butterfly Pavilion’s Pollinator Awareness through Conservation and Education (PACE) initiative promoting pollinator awareness and habitat and species conservation and restoration. By 2020, PACE plans to restore and create new habitats to support 20 million pollinators throughout Colorado.
“We must remember that many of the plants that are supported by pollinators are an important part of sustainable ecosystems. Healthy habitats and healthy populations of pollinators are dependent upon each other,” says Mary Ann Colley, Vice President of Science and Conservation at Butterfly Pavilion. “We are excited to partner with such a forward-thinking farm to increase pollinator awareness.”
5 Fridges Farm integrates various projects focused on sustainability including those with University of Colorado Denver faculty and students that work to increase urban pollinator habitat as well as test methods of maintenance and honey harvesting that are less invasive to bees.
“Partnerships like that between 5 Fridges Farm and Butterfly Pavilion are vital because they highlight and support the interdependence of farming and pollinators. With 33% of all food crops requiring pollinators, they are necessary to farmers. Similarly, pollinators rely on food sources provided by farms,” says Amanda Weaver, Ph.D., owner of 5 Fridges Farm.