HINTON, WV (WOAY) – Leaders of the Appalachian Beekeeping Collective was host to Gayle Manchin, the Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission. The event is being held at Appalachian Headwaters in Hinton for a day of learning about this collective project and the positive impact it is making.
“We have a little over 100 partners in 13 counties so we will kind of be giving them an outline of everything we’ve accomplished, the way we’ve helped the communities, the money we’ve been able to put back into individual’s pockets as part of the beekeeping,” says Mark Lilly, Head Beekeeper for the collective.
The Appalachian Beekeeping Collective (ABC) is a four-year project started by the nonprofit Appalachian Headwaters that helps beekeepers in hard-hit coal mining communities learn how to keep bees in an environmentally responsible way, and the Appalachian Regional Commission has been a strong support in this initiative.
“I think having the Co-Chair Mrs. Manchin here is a badge of honor. She is the first Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission from West Virginia, which makes it all the better for not only us, but the rest of West Virginians,” Terri Giles, VP of Government Relations of Appalachian Headwaters, says.
During Gayle Manchin’s visit she got a chance to hear beekeepers talk about the program and the work they are doing, tour the Bee Building, and even visit with a Plant Specialist to learn about the Headwater’s Native Plant Program that coincides with the beekeeping effort.
“We are looking at how native food diets can influence the health of our native pollinators as well as honeybees and just the ecosystem of Southern West Virginia,” says Dr. Kristen Wickert, Lead Pollinator Scientist for the project.
Along with practicing safe, natural beekeeping, the Appalachian Beekeeping Collective also trains, supports, and provides bees and equipment at no cost to beekeepers.