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Beekeeping at art school?

RISD Beekeeping was founded in 2016 as a club for students interested in learning about and supporting local pollinators. Our goal has always been to tap into the wealth of creativity here at RISD and bring students from all different majors together to work on projects related to beekeeping. 

To date, we have collaborated with Raghvi Bhatia (Glass ’19) who is in the process creating a number of art glass honey jars for us, Camilo Herra-Matiz (ID ’19) has helped create unique custom additions to our beehives, Samantha Newman (Sculpture ’21) is exploring 3Bee printing. Skye Volmar (Painting ’19), Aaron Broadbent (Painting ’19) and Nellie Konopka (Painting ’20) have each painted a custom beehive super for our hives, and club leader Wynn Geary (ID ’19) has created sensor kits to track the health of honeybee colonies.

The club has taken off since August of 2017 when we started our apiary at the Southside Community Land Trust. In June of 2018 we established our first hive on RISD’s campus in President Somerson’s garden and this past summer we harvested our first ever batch of RISD Beekeeping honey from our hives at Southside. We’ve bottled and labeled our honey and partnered with Carr Haus Café to bring it to students this past February.

We were fortunate enough to partner with Boston’s Best Bees Company which provided us with a DNA analysis of our honey. They discovered that our bees foraged on 70 different species of plants to make our light and herbaceous summer 2018 honey. The top three species they found were Black Locust, Apple, and Bladder Campion. This data is proof of what our bees are thriving on and we’ll be passing this data along to RISD facilities in the hopes that they will consider planting some of these species around campus to create food sources for our struggling pollinators. 

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RISD Beekeeping is made possible by the

RISD Center for Student Involvement