NYC Beekeeping and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine team up for bees
A new urban honey bee sanctuary has been installed in the gardens of The Cathedral of St. John the Divine. The Cathedral gardens, which are already home to three peacocks and a family of red-tailed hawks, is now also home to a hive of Apis mellifera, a gentle and mild-tempered species of honey bee.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), honey bees pollinate nearly one-third of all the food we eat. Since 2006, more than three million honey bees in the U.S. have mysteriously died. The USDA states that this die-off threatens nearly $15 billion in agriculture – or 100 commercial crops – that rely on honey bee pollination. According to reports, the number of hives in the United States is at its lowest point in 50 years.
“Many people don’t understand how vital the sustainability of the pollinator population is to the environment and the food we eat every day,” said The Very Rev. Dr. James A. Kowalski, Dean of the Cathedral. “The Cathedral is well placed to support the ailing bee population and we are glad to help spread their messages and educate New Yorkers on the importance of urban beekeeping.”
“Urban areas like New York City are getting back in touch with nature,” said Nicole Toutounji, the beekeeper who will maintain the hive. “The Cathedral’s urban bee sanctuary is part of a visionary plan to reclaim our relationship with nature, support honey bee populations and contribute to the city’s sustainability efforts.”
The Divine Hive
In honor of her new home, the queen bee of the hive has been named “The Divine Queen”. In the fall, an artisanal honey will be extracted from the hive, which will be known as “Divine Honey.” As bees only travel 3-5 miles to collect flower nectar and pollen, the Divine Honey will take on the unique characteristics of the Cathedral’s gardens and neighboring flora.