Posts Tagged: Team B.E.E.S.
Dianne DiBlasi did it.
Back in January, we wrote a Bug Squad blog about Dianne DiBlasi’s three-year effort to overturn an Allendale, N.J. ban on backyard beekeeping.
DiBlasi, who leads a group of teen environmentalists known as Team B.E.E.S. (Bergen Environmental Effort to Save Bees) and is a member of the the New Jersey Beekeepers' Association, simply wanted the Allendale Council to remove bees from the city’s list of “banned and dangerous animals” and allow non-commercial beekeepers to keep their bee colonies in their yards.
On Oct. 14, the Allendale Council unanimously voted to lift the bee ban.
This is good news indeed. It shows what one person, with help of her friends and fellow beekeepers, can do to overturn an ordinance that needed overturning.DiBlasi set out to educate the town officials and the community about how vital honey bees are. She pointed out that bees are important pollinators, that they pollinate one-third of the food we eat. She pointed out that bees are in trouble, due to the mysterious malady known as colony collapse disorder, and diseases, parasites, pests, pesticides, malnutrition, and climate changes. She pointed out that bees need our help and one way to help is to plant bee friendly gardens and allow backyard beekeeping.
Of course, the lifting of the bee ban comes with restrictions, such as the number of hives within a certain area. There are also requirements such as notifying the neighbors within 200 feet of any property line (if a neighbor protests, no beekeeping), protecting the area with a fence at least six feet high, licensing the hives with the Allendale officials, registering with the New Jersey apiarist, and the like.
But she did it!
DiBlasi graciously thanked the entire council for their support. "I promise you that you will be amazed at your flower gardens and vegetable gardens. Give me two years."
We suspect it will be a lot less.
Newly emerged bee
Dianne DiBlasi is frustrated.
She’s the advisor of Team B.E.E.S. (Bergen Environmental Effort to Save Bees), a group of six high school students in Allendale, N.J. involved in a honey bee project.
Two years ago the students conducted research and interviewed locals to find a community-based environmental project. They decided on bees. They learned about bees and beekeeping, and purchased their supplies.
Today, they're heavily involved in educating the public about bees: how vital bees are and the issues they face. The youths gave a presentation at the Bronx Zoo's "Teens for Planet Earth" summit, where they won the gold award for service-based learning. Then last month, PBS traveled to Allendale to cover the team's activities. The TV show, "GreenQuest," will premiere in February.
Now for the frustration.
Bees are "prohibited animals" in the Borough of Allendale.
“We were fortunate (two years ago) to find a beekeeper in the next town over who graciously let us put our hive on his property,” DiBlasi said.
They petitioned the council to change the ordinance. The council declined.
Now they’ll be addressing council again on Feb. 2--this time with the support of Tim Schuler,
DiBlasi said some of the city council members think the bee project is a potential liability.
“It seems there is more concern over a neighbor getting stung than taking a huge green step forward,” she said.
"On Feb. 2 we will address the council at 7:30 p.m. asking them to 1) remove bees from the list of Prohibited Animals, and 2) approve guidelines for beekeeping that we have drawn up. I invite people to write letters to Mayor Vince Barra stating how important it is for Allendale to take this important step forward." DiBlasi is asking honey bee supporters to send letters to:
Allendale Borough Hall
500 West Crescent Ave
And guess what? Honey bees.
Honey bees? Right. In fact, honey bees are No. 4 on the list "to become extinct."
The author (unknown) of the piece had this to say:
Perhaps nothing on our list of disappearing
Flight of the Honey Bee