A honey bee with pollen saddles.

A grant that will help fund a new community educational apiary to promote honey bee stewardship has been awarded to Toe Cane Beekeepers Association (TCBA) by the Mountain Air Community Fund (MACF). Mountain Air recognized the TCBA for its continuing efforts to provide educational opportunities to residents of Mitchell, Avery and Yancey counties, including prospective beekeepers and school groups.

MACF supports organizations that target health and economic development, education, literacy, the arts and family issues, and has awarded more than $1.2 million since its founding in 2007.

TCBA President David Reeder said, “We are very appreciative of this grant from Mountain Air Community Fund and delighted they recognize and support the association’s efforts to bring beekeeping out of the classroom and into the real world. Backyard beekeepers lose an average of 40 percent of their hives a year, and education is one of the best ways to reduce hive losses and help save the bees. The educational apiary will also allow us to introduce beekeeping to prospective beekeepers of all ages through school visits and classes.”

Tammy Hardy, TCBA vice president and chair of the association’s education committee, said, “School visits are a great way to light a fire of curiosity about the natural world for primary school and middle school-aged children. In addition to class visits, we will offer workshops to teach both basic and advanced beekeeping techniques to adults and older students.”

TCBA Educational Apiary at Mayland

The TCBA Educational Apiary at Mayland is located near the entrance to Mayland Community College (MCC) outside Spruce Pine. In hosting the apiary, or bee yard, on its campus, Mayland made significant contributions to develop the site and will continue to offer beekeeping classes and events in cooperation with the TCBA.

The educational apiary will initially be composed of 4 to 6 colonies of bees inside a protective fence. The association plans a regular series of hands-on events for members and others interested in learning more about beekeeping and the importance of bees in agriculture. School groups and teachers interested in bringing students to visit the apiary for field trips, complete with a look inside the beehives while wearing protective bee suits, should contact the TCBA.

Founded in 1998 as a chapter of the N.C. State Beekeepers Association, the Toe Cane Beekeepers Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit offering educational and training opportunities throughout the year for beekeepers as well as engaging in community outreach through area schools and at special events. The club’s goal is to demonstrate the crucial role that honey bees play in ensuring the health of our ecosystem, in agricultural pollination and in maintaining a sustainable environment.

Make a Donation

Fundraising efforts are ongoing for the TCBA Educational Apiary at Mayland. Donation are appreciated.


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