The number of bees per acre is a critical metric of the health of a forest. Before Hurricane Irma, St John Bees were declining by 15-25% each year. Local bee farming created an industry that sustained the economy and reduced food imports and associated carbon emissions. Little now remains of this once lush tropical island and local bee farming. We are replacing the equipment and supplies lost due to Irma; and re-planting local fauna to support the bees needed to restore the St. John ecosystem.
In the Virgin Islands, where almost every foodstuff is imported, bee farming reduced imports and resulting carbon emissions. Because of Irma, little now remains of the bee farming industry and the once tropical island of St. John is a brown desert. The ecology cannot be restored without pollinators. The problem however isn't as simple as releasing new bees back into St John. Each species is a specialized pollinator and importing bees would likely introduce pests and pathogens to the island.
The knowledge needed to identify the right bee for the local fauna native to St John is now all but gone with the destruction of the bee farming industry. Thus, we are providing equipment, supplies, and stipends to sustain 5 bee farmers for 18 months. We are also providing training that will result in Master Beekeeping Certifications and enable locals to train future generations of beekeepers. Products produced like honey, wax, and fruit will be sold locally creating a sustainable industry.
Our project is unique in that after completion, there will be 5 trained and certified master beekeepers with businesses in St. John. The businesses will sell their products to local restaurants and hotels. And also through an online store. Using our train the trainer model, Master Beekeepers will train future generations of locals. Our project creates a sustainable local industry. The Project also includes replanting up to one acre of local fauna lost due to Irma.