The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Beekeeping club finalizes plans

Bees are polarizing creatures—while loved by some, others are deathly afraid to go near a single one. And they’re coming to Grinnell.

A student initiative passed at the beginning of this semester proposing student-run beehives on campus. Four beehives are already in Grinnell­—just not on campus. The club’s founders, Ian McCallum-Cook ’12 and Griffin Smith ’12, still have to overcome some final legal hurdles to get the bees in a more permanent location.

“We have four bee hives installed about four miles away from campus,” McCallum-Cook said.

The hives are currently on the grounds of Biology Technical Assistant Sue Kolbe, according to Smith and McCallum-Cook. Before being able to bring the bees onto campus, the club must attain an official permit to keep bees within city limits as well as clearing up some insurance issues with the College’s administration.

“The College wants to cover itself legally,” Smith said. “Our understanding is that they won’t face the same problems if the bees are not directly on campus.”

However, insurance is not the only problem that has made it difficult to get the bees on campus thus far.

“[Facilities Management] would not give us permission to place the bee hives on top of Noyce,” Smith said, adding that for pollination across campus it would have been a prime location. The group was also not able to obtain permission to place the bee hives in the community garden or at Eco-House.

“We have two other possible locations right now,” Smith said. “Either east of the track or two blocks west from campus at Professor [of Education] Jean Ketter’s house.”

The idea of having a beekeeping club at Grinnell came from both McCallum-Cook and Smith. Smith has been keeping bees for over nine years while McCallum-Cook worked as a semi-commercial beekeeper in Pennsylvania.

“While talking about beekeeping we noticed that a large amount of people seemed interested in it,” McCallum-Cook said.

One of the objectives of the group is to keep this interest going for the next four years.

“Our intention is that the club outlasts us,” McCallum-Cook said.

In addition to the duo of students fostering the club, the group is supported by Professor Elizabeth Queathem, Biology, and Professor Jonathan Andelson ’70, anthropology, who serve as mentors.

“We want the faculty to be involved,” McCallum-Cook said.

Interest and involvement beyond the student level is one of the things the group founders hope to accomplish with the bees. Several members of the town of Grinnell have approached them hoping to learn how to keep their own bees.

“Obviously we want the honey,” Smith said. “But the main reason is to provide service to the greater Grinnell community by pollination but also teaching skills, to everyone who is interested, that can become useful later in life.”

According to Smith and McCallum-Cook, there is also an ecological benefit—for the last few decades the number of bees has been threatened and the best way to stabilize the population is to keep bees and ensure their future existence.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *