When I transferred to the U, I took a class called Global and Environmental Issues and learned about the pollinator crisis. Worldwide, honeybee populations are in serious decline. That’s a big problem for humans—one in every three bites of food that you take were pollinated directly or indirectly by a bee. If we’re unable to use their pollinator services to sustain our agriculture—that would have a huge impact on our food system.
A previous president of the University of Utah Beekeeper’s Association came to talk to our class, and it sounded really cool. I was concerned about bees and I’ve always been interested in beekeeping, but had no idea how to get involved. I started volunteering and was fascinated by the hives. We have six hives with more than 300,000 honey bees. It’s fascinating to watch them. They work as a superorganism—everyone in the hive knows what they’re doing. It’s such a well-run system. You get mesmerized by this whole other world going on.
One of the greatest things about the club is I get to teach people about why they should care about bees. A few years ago I had a crazy idea to get a pollinator garden installed on campus, and with a SCIF grant and by collaborating with students from other majors, we did it. The average person can do a lot to help the bees. Buy local honey and plant-pollinator habitat in your garden.
—Quaid Harding, senior majoring in biology, president of the University of Utah Beekeeper’s Association
Banner photo is courtesy of Mathew Crawley/University of Utah College of Science