Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Unused Land at O'Hare Airport Goes To the Bees

Commercial beehive at O'Hare International Airport.

The "airport beekeeping movement" has been growing in Germany since 1999, when scientists realized honeybees could be helpful for monitoring air quality, but O'Hare is the first American airport to get an apiary. In a way, it's a return to the airport's agricultural roots: O'Hare was founded on a former apple orchard, which lives on in the three letter airport code "ORD."

In May, the Chicago Department of Aviation partnered with a community group to start a 2,400 square foot apiary on-site. The project offers a creative, sustainable, and productive way to use otherwise wasted open space at mega-airports like O'Hare. The bees' new home on the east side of the airport campus had long stood vacant, so it was a natural spot for the bee program to begin. And if that's not enough benefit, the beehives provide employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated adults (similar to other projects that teach prisoners beekeeping).

Read more at GOOD | Environment.

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