Picture a 100-acre area just covered with bees and beehives. It’s probably not a place you really want to go, right? But it’s actually an incredibly important (and real) place.
Guillaume Gautherea is the entrepreneur behind this bee sanctuary in Upstate New York. The sanctuary, which he hopes to open in about a year, will provide a safe space for bees with pollinator-friendly flowers, fruit trees and other plants.
Though they might not be your favorite guests at summertime barbecues and picnics, bees are integral to food production. But honey bee colonies have been dying off thanks to disease, pesticides and other factors. That’s what makes Gautherea’s sanctuary so necessary. He told CNN:
“As far as I know, there is nothing like this for bees anywhere in the U.S. It will be a place where bees will have safe shelter, food and clean water.”
Gautherea, a trained veterinarian who also has a few of his own beehives on his private land in the Catskills, wants the bee sanctuary to actually be more than a safe haven for bees. Since so many people are scared of bees, they might not be aware of how important they are to our food supply.
Gautherea wants to set up a research center where students and the public can come and learn about bees and maybe even overcome their fears. He said:
“The landscape will inspire and teach visitors how they can help to improve habitat, protect bees from harmful pesticides, and promote their health and diversity.”
The importance of the bee sanctuary is clear, and might even catch on in other areas around the country. But the research center might prove to be equally important. For people to really make a large scale change to help bee populations, there likely needs to be some education and attitude changes on the public front.
If people don’t understand the importance of bees and why they should care about decreasing populations, then there’s unlikely to be any large scale changes in terms of pesticides and other factors. So Gautherea’s plan is one that might actually make a difference on multiple fronts.
Beekeeper Photo via Shutterstock