A second bee hive will be placed on CATEC property on Monday, June 21, 2021 thanks to a partnership with Siller Pollinator Company from Scottsville.
This second hive is available for public adoption today, starting at $50. On May 6, 2021 CATEC became the keepers of its first bee hive. The hive was placed on CATEC property to encourage healthy pollination environments. CATEC’s bee hives are placed in a clearing away from the school, surrounded by trees and vegetation. With Cultivate Charlottesville’s nearby garden plot, this land is an ideal ecosystem on CATEC’s campus.
Culinary Arts Head Chef and Instructor Josh Davis says, “We are striving to bring more knowledge about agriculture into our program and our relationship with Siller Pollinator is a step in the right direction.” He says the Culinary Arts program will be able to incorporate bee pollination information into its curriculum to study how local habitats impact food production.
With the addition of fresh vegetables harvested from the nearby Cultivate Charlottesville garden by 2022, and herbs grown in raised beds behind the Culinary Arts kitchen, the program will be able to create a true farm-to-table curriculum. Culinary Arts Executive Chef Christina Rizzo says, “We are doing an injustice to our program if we do not expose our students to the agricultural elements that bring food our communities. These collaborations are essential to teaching our students how food gets to our kitchen.”
Siller Pollinator says the world’s honey bee population is half of what it was nearly 80 years ago. And with approximately 80% of the world’s plants benefiting from pollinators, it is important for bees and other pollinator populations such as birds, bats, butterflies, and wasps, to have healthy pollination opportunities in our community because the pollinators help create local food sources. Cultivate Charlottesville’s Richard Morris says the bees will help the garden because “we can’t grow food effectively without our pollinator partners, so having bees nearby is a gift to any garden. Besides food crops, we’ll be planting flowers and various native species of plants that attract bees, which ensures that the garden is will be productive.”
Siller Pollinator provides beekeeping services with the goal of keeping healthy bee hives on local property and businesses. They create pollinator habitats through project management and consulting. They also educate aspiring beekeepers and provide school programming. Siller Pollinator’s Allison Wickman says, “If you are interested in helping and learning more about honey bees, the adopt-a-hive program is a great place to start.”
Throughout Spring 2021, CATEC’s Building Trades program and Assistant Principal Anthony Smith collaborated with Albemarle County Public Schools elementary and high schools to create and set up bee houses for local leafcutter bees. With teachers from Monticello High and Merriweather Lewis and Scottsville Elementary Schools, CATEC-designed bee houses were installed as well as wildflower gardens planted to encourage pollination as well.
Bee hives are available through Siller Pollinator for adoption at different levels, both at CATEC and around our community. CATEC’s first bee pollinator hive has been graciously sponsored by an artist in New York with connections to Siller Pollinator. The second bee pollinator hive is up for adoption now. Adopters receive monthly hive inspection reports with photographs, quarterly videos of hive inspections catered to educational information, visits to the hive, and honey when available. Anyone interested in adopting CATEC’s second bee hive can contact Wickman at Siller Pollinator Company.
CATEC is a regional technical education center that helps high school students and adults obtain the jobs they seek. Students have opportunities to practice hands-on and work-based learning activities alongside academically-driven curricula. CATEC prides itself on its built-in value, equity-based programs, and contribution to students' learning journeys.