Visitors to Purdue University Northwest campus sites may have noticed a few more bees than usual in recent weeks.
Earlier this spring, PNW added apiaries or housing for bees, to its sites in Hammond, Westville and the Gabis Arboretum. There are two each at its Westville campus and the Gabis Arboretum and four in the Hammond campus.
“It has never been more important for us to understand the significance of environmental stewardship,” said Kenneth Holford, PNW provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Over the next several years Purdue Northwest will showcase sustainable environmental practices at all of our campus locations.”
He said the beehives are just one aspect of that movement.
“(They) illustrate that anyone can participate regardless of location,” Holford said.
As part of PNW’s efforts to benefit sustainability and create a green environment, the bee project will bring attention to urban agriculture.
“Bees are vital to pollination, seed dispersal, biodiversity, sustainability and agricultural production,” said Stephanie Blackstock, executive director of the Gabis Arboretum at Purdue Northwest. “Bees, through pollination, help to maintain genetic diversity, increase the productivity of ecosystems and provide a greater variety of crops.”
PNW partnered with Earthling Bee Co. to maintain and care for the bee colonies.
“Without pollinators we’d have far less food,” said Nicky Jones, president of Earthling Bee Co. “Bees are instrumental to the agricultural economy and almost every food crop is touched by a pollinator in some way – roughly every two to three bites of food are courtesy of a pollinator.”
John Bachmann, grounds, and landscape manager at PNW, said there are advantages the bees will provide to the campuses and surrounding communities.
“Having bees will not only have a dramatic effect on how (plants and flowers) bloom but will ensure their health and longevity for years to come,” he said.