By Bobby Ellis
As the sun came up over the trees, warming the two painted boxes on the outside of the wall of the Bowling Green High School baseball field, Elizabeth Forbes laughed.
“The baseball guys are going to be so upset with me,” she said from behind a mesh screened hat.
The two hives of honeybees there had begun to wake up, and several thousand bees had begun to cover the back wall of the baseball field.
“There’s something on there that they like,” said Forbes. “Good thing baseball practice isn’t going on.”
Forbes, a school psychologist, has been a beekeeper since 2009. She has been the head of the beekeeping program at the high school since helping to get it started in 2012.
“I got inspired by a documentary, ‘Vanishing of the Bees,'” said Forbes. “I thought it would be really cool to get a program going here, and I’ve had a lot of help from the principal and superintendent. The school staff has been amazing, helping me move the hives because of the construction work here. Everyone has gotten involved, even the art students. They painted the hives for me.”
There are currently three students involved in the program: Allison Huntsman, an 8th-grader from Bowling Green Junior High, Abby Adams-Smith, a 10th-grader, and Sam Garbin, a 9th-grader.
Forbes said that the biggest challenge of the program is getting students interested year after year.
“You know, people graduate and move on, so then you need to recruit,” said Forbes. “People usually are interested, but it’s a lot of work. Students are usually getting out of school right when the bees really get going.”
That didn’t seem to deter Forbes’ current group, as they made their first trip out to the hives and were introduced to the different tools used by beekeepers.
“I honestly was pretty nervous,” said Adams-Smith. “I was scared coming into it, but now I feel pretty empowered by it. Having come out here and faced my fears of being around them, I know I’m going to get stung at some point, but I’m not terrified to be here.”
“I certainly heard the buzz about it,” said Sam Garbin. “I’m waiting for that first sting too, but I think this is really neat.”