West Orange to celebrate National Pollinator Week with a beekeeping demonstration

WEST ORANGE, NJ — Ribbon-cutting ceremonies are usually associated with a new business opening; however, a ceremonial ribbon cutting on Saturday, June 26, from 10 a.m. to noon will spotlight one of Mother Nature’s busiest work places. Tireless workers will literally be “busy as a bee” during a free public event at the Rock, 577 Mt. Pleasant Ave. in West Orange. A beekeeping demonstration will help children and their parents better understand the complex bionetwork that exists, mostly unseen, between honeybees and pollination. 

“Witnessing firsthand the working of the beehive will greatly enhance the ability to educate all ages on good stewardship practices and raise awareness on the essential role bees play in sustaining a vibrant ecosystem,” West Orange Open Space Commission Chairperson Joe McCartney said. 

A Sustainable Jersey grant awarded in June 2019 was used to create a pollinator garden at the Rock. Last fall, 400 flower bulbs were planted before introducing the working beehive installation commissioned from the Association of N.J. Environmental Commissions. Beekeeper Jim Michael worked closely with McCartney to introduce the beehive to the pollinator garden. A key environmentally friendly component at the location is a solar-powered electric fence. It deters wildlife, which might be attracted by the smell of honey, from entering. 

The next phase of this long-term vision project, delayed by COVID, is an educational component involving the community. Liberty Middle School science teacher Christina Faust will work with students to incorporate QR codes they developed, which will be located on posts throughout the Pollinator Garden. Each code will provide information on the different plants and components found throughout the garden.

National Pollinator Week is from June 21 to June 27. For more information about this event or the Rock, contact McCartney at 973-902 2669 or joseph_p_mccartney53@msn.com.