CHARLESTON ,WV (BY: CYNTHIA McCLOUD, THE STATE JOURNAL) – Honeybees are part of a plan to create jobs, diversify the economy and redevelop reclaimed mine lands in Southern West Virginia.
Appalachian Headwaters, Green Forests Work, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture and New River Community and Technical College are working together on a beekeeping collective and native plant production project in 14 coal-producing counties. They’re armed with a $1.5 million grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to help.
Since Appalachian Headwaters started in Southern West Virginia, its first and foremost activity has been the reforestation of mined land, said VP of Programs Kate Asquith. But to recreate the flora at sites that were originally forested, the group needs pollinators and native plants. The pollinators left when the vegetation was removed during mining. When the group is trying to get plants to flourish on the sites, they bring in pollinators — enter the honeybees.