6/29/2017 Chris Karlesky

Observation Hive

This magazine article is part of Spring/Summer 2017 / Issue 89

Flanked by two academic buildings, a library and a residence hall, Franklin & Marshall’s Center for the Sustainable Environment lies in one of the busiest parts of campus. The walkways around the building are filled with students, faculty members and professional staff who are off to do their work in classrooms, offices and laboratories nearby.

Inside the center, a different population is also hard at work. On the building’s second floor, hundreds of honeybees fly in and out of an observation hive attached to a wall in the office of Sarah Dawson, director of the Center for the Sustainable Environment. Constructed last year by Dan Chambers of the Lancaster County Beekeepers Society, the hive allows members of the F&M community to witness remarkable processes: bees converting nectar and pollen into honey and wax, the molding of wax into a hexagonal honeycomb structure, and the reproduction of bees.

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The observation hive – and similar hives on Baker Campus, one mile to the west – is just one effort F&M has made to help boost the local population of honeybees and other pollinator species. In recent years, many pollinators have faced population declines due to habitat loss and human application of common pesticides. F&M has eliminated its use of pesticides that have been linked to pollinator declines.

Just outside the window of Dawson’s office, the College also recently planted a pollinator garden filled with native plants, including red twig dogwood, trumpet honeysuckle, mountain laurel, Appalachian sedge, anise and milkweed. These plants and others draw numerous pollinators such as bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Learn more by visiting the College’s comprehensive website on pollinators at go.fandm.edu/pollinators.

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