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“Bee-coming Sustainable,” a community event held at UH Hilo Farm Laboratory

Beekeeping and sustainable agriculture were the focus of a fun community event held at UH Hilo’s Farm Laboratory in Pana‘ewa.

Alan Wong
Chef Alan Wong with some of the school children who attended the Bee-coming Sustainable community event. (Left to right) Milla, Kamalei, and Ihilani Sakai; Alan Wong; Sunday and Cricket Miura; Irie Sakai.
UH Hilo student
(Left to right) Laurie Jahraus and Samuel Clubb, UH Hilo students and scholarship recipients, demonstrate the process of uncapping to Mr. and Mrs. Ikeda who drove in from Kona for the event. An electric uncapping knife is used to cut through the wax cappings so the honey can be extracted.

Beekeeping and sustainable agriculture were the focus of a commmunity event held Feb. 23 at University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s Farm Laboratory in Pana‘ewa. Hosted by UH Hilo’s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources, the “Bee-coming Sustainable” event celebrated the “Alan Wong Adopt a Beehive” program, now in its third year. The program is a partnership between Chef Alan Wong and UH Hilo to raise awareness of the critical plight of honey bees and to promote local solutions to sustaining the local honey bee industry. Members of the public can adopt a beehive at the farm lab to support research and development of healthy beehive practices in Hawai‘i.

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Three UH Hilo students were presented with scholarships at the Bee-coming Sustainable event. The scholarships are funded through the “Alan Wong Adopt a Beehive” program. (Left to right) Chancellor Don Straney; scholarship recipients Samuel Clubb, Laurie Jahraus, and Shohei Yamaki; and Chef Alan Wong.

“It was an adopter appreciation event filled with exhibits by my students, visits to the hives, and food samplings with local ingredients prepared by Chef Wong and his team,” says Lorna Tstutumi, professor of entomology who has taught beekeeping at UH Hilo for over 30 years.

Also celebrated at the event were three UH Hilo students from the agriculture college who were each presented a $1,000 “Adopt-a-Beehive with Alan Wong Scholarship.” The scholarships are made possible through the generous support of donors who have joined Chef Alan Wong in adopting beehives at UH Hilo’s Farm Laboratory in Panaʻewa.

The Bee-coming Sustainable event was swarming with school kids. Tstusumi says an anonymous donor gifted a hive this season to the second grade class of E.B. DeSilva, home of the super bees. “The students from the class were invited as donor’s to the event.” she says. The children learned about products made from beeswax such as hand made crayons made with wax extracted from the hives at the farm.

Crayons
At right is Andrea Barton, a UH Hilo student enrolled in Prof. Tsutsumi’s advanced beekeeping course this semester, at the art table with her son Felix. Children at the event learned about and played with handmade crayons made with beeswax extracted from the hives at the farm.
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Chef Alan Wong (left) talks to Mike Cromwell of Wailea Agricultural Group.

This year, the Adopt a Beehive program piloted a project with the Wailea Agricultural Group, a local farm owned by Michael Crowell producing hearts of palm, flowers, fruit and spices.

“We took a UH Hilo hive to his farm and worked with him to teach him beekeeping, though he already had some experience,” says Tsutsumi. “He brought the frames of honey from that hive collected by the UH Hilo bees that had pollinated his crops to the event for extraction. The lemons in the lemonade that was served came from Wailea Ag and were pollinated by the UH Hilo bees. The program is trying to get more out into the community to teach the importance of integrating bees to increase pollination.”

Photos courtesy of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources. Used with permission.

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