History of the Bees at RIC
Anthropology professor Dr. Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban visited University of California- Davis campus bee research facility. She was intrigued with the use of honeybees on campus and wanted to start a program for Rhode Island College, focusing on honeybee research and bee education.
- With approval and heavy support of previous RIC President Dr. Nancy Carriuolo, three hives and beekeeper protective gear were donated by the Rhode Island Bee Association (RIBA)
- Betty Mencucci and RIBA began using RIC campus to teach a basics of beekeeping class
- Jim Murphy, Sustainability Coordinator, took over the hives after Dr. Fluehr-Lobban and her husband Dr. Richard Lobban’s retirement. Both continue to support the hives with supplies and advocacy today
- Ed Lafferty and members of RIBA, along with Jim Lawson, State Bee Inspector for the Department of Environmental Management (DEM), assist in the caretaking of the hives
- DownCity Design, a non-profit architectural and engineering group for high schoolers, built a storage and educational setup for fieldtrips
- They built honey comb shaped storage with bee facts on the fronts that doubles as seating, a honeycomb shaped white board, and shed to keep the beekeeper gear
- Field trips are started for Henry Barnard Lab School on campus for preschool-elementary students. Word is spread and soon middle school and high school students from across Rhode Island are joining
- A study was started focusing on the Small Hive Beetle, a species of invasive beetle that is living in hives, stealing resources and killing hives across the East Coast
- This grant funded project is continuing to be led by biology professor Dr. Geoff Stilwell
- Dr. Frank Sánchez started his presidency and continued supporting the hives
- RIC served as a distribution point of queens in the RIBA/DEM “Queen Rearing” program
- Studies are continuing about the SHB and many local students are learning the joys of beekeeping and how bees affect our environment
- Field trips did not occur this year as a result of the pandemic.
- The pandemic may have stopped students from coming to campus, but the bees kept on buzzing!
- Field trips resumed allowing students from Ricci Middle School, St. Augustine Elementary, and Blackstone Valley Prep to meet the bees!