Flowers Help Transform Lives and Feed the Bees

student in wildflower field
Flowers can help to inspire students and to provide needed forage for bees. In June 2015, Salem4youth received wildflower seed from the Bayer CropScience Feed a Bee program, and other benefactors, to plant an acre and a half of its 50-acre campus with wildflowers. By September, flowers were in bloom, enhancing forage for bees in the program’s 10 bee hives.
Bees give us honey and help to pollinate many of the fruits and vegetables that are part of our healthy diet. At Salem4youth, the bees are doing even more! Salem4youth uses the complexity of honey bee colonies to mentor teenage young men.
salem4youth flowers
“The field is looking terrific!  I enjoy going out there in the late afternoon/early evening to take photos of some of our bees and to see the activity. The field is literally buzzing. We also have an enhanced population of butterflies as a result of this field. I have to admit I am a 'rookie' when it comes to creating a strong wildflower field, but despite that, we have had beautiful results! …Our students enjoy seeing the bees work the flowers and understand the importance of good forage for bee health.” -- Steve McNair
Salem4youth is a faith-based ministry focused on helping young men, ages 12-18, who are struggling with family issues. Students live together on a campus in rural Central Illinois for approximately 9-12 months as they work on familial reconciliation.

The program’s director of development, Steve McNair, who is an Illinois beekeeper, realized the potential of beekeeping to provide a unique skill set and approach to teaching responsibility and discipline to Salem4youth teens. With the help of local beekeepers, Steve played an integral role in launching and establishing an apiary – currently 10 hives – at Salem4youth’s campus in spring 2013.

In June 2015, Salem4youth planted wildflower seed, received from Bayer’s Feed a Bee program and other benefactors, on an acre and a half of its 50-acre campus. By September, wildflowers were in bloom, significantly enhancing forage for the program’s bee hives.

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Steve McNair was the 2013 winner of the Bayer Bee Care Community Leadership Award.  Steve wrote a blog about Salem4youth’s beekeeping program and experiences with Feed a Bee.

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