Now in its 7th year, the Adopt-A-Beehive with Alan Wong program has awarded more than $20,000 in scholarships to beekeeping students at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. This year’s recipients are Daniel Lunnom, Batina Grossett and David Russell, who each received a $1,000 scholarship at the UH Hilo Agricultural Farm Laboratory in Panaʻewa.
“The program is unique because it allows the community to engage in student learning,” said Lorna Tsutsumi, professor of entomology at the UH Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management and program lead of the Adopt-A-Beehive with Alan Wong program.
Tsutsumi explained, “The students enrolled in the beekeeping courses care for the adopted hives on the UH Hilo Ag Farm and write periodic updates to the adopters on the health and status of the hive. Once a season, the adopters are invited to the farm to see their hive, meet the student that cares for their hive, tour the bee grounds, learn about student projects and enjoy honey food samples. Every season, Chef Alan Wong greets the adopters and personally thanks them for their support of the program and their commitment to bee awareness and sustainability.”
The good work of the program is spreading beyond campus and the local community. This June, the program will be showcased in Washington, DC, for Congresswoman Mazie Hirono and the Chamber of Commerce Hawaiʻi’s Hawaiʻi on the Hill. And most recently, representatives of Yamada Bee Company from Japan visited the bees on the farm to see “Hawaiian” bees and document the experience. The first of several parts of their visit can be seen in the video below.
“There is no doubt that this program is a special experiential learning opportunity for UH Hilo students and helps to promote the importance that bees play in local and global sustainability,” Tsutsumi said. “Blending a celebrity chef with UH Hilo beekeeping students and a good cause supported by the community is a recipe for success.”
—By Susan Enright