Flight Zone

Airports Establish Bee-Friendly Acres

The Common Acre is a nonprofit partnering with the airport serving Seattle, Washington, and the Urban Bee Company (UrbanBee.com) to reclaim 50 acres of vacant land to plant native wildflowers as pollinator habitat for hummingbirds, butterflies and disease-resistant bee colonies. A GMO-free (no genetic modification) wildflower seed farm is also in the works. Bees present no threat to air traffic and the hives discourage birds that do pose a danger to planes.

Beekeeper Jim Robins, of Robins Apiaries, in St. Louis, Missouri, rents an area with a plentiful supply of white Dutch clover, and Lambert Airport views his enterprise as part of its sustainability program. O’Hare Airport, in Chicago, the first in the U.S. to install hives, is rebuilding to its full complement of 50 hives after losing about half of them to 2014’s extreme winter. It’s a project that could be a model for airports everywhere—using inaccessible scrubland to do something revolutionary, like supporting a local food system. One hundred foods make up 90 percent of a human diet, and bees pollinate 71 of them.

Learn more at CommonAcre.org.

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