The Downtown Greenway beehive has been buzzing with excitement - and turmoil!
First established in April 2021, the honey bee hive is located within the Public Orchard at Meeting Place, our Tradition Cornerstone at the corner of Smith Street and Prescott Street. Thanks to the expertise and efforts of our volunteer beekeepers, Amy Moyle and TJ Mayer, the hive has successfully settled in over the last year and a half. Earlier this summer, however, things were not looking so great. For some reason, the original colony of Italian bees (a traditionally calm and docile breed, which is great for educational purposes) had moved out and abandoned the hive - possibly due to troublesome skunks in the area.
In their place, a new colony of "squatter bees" had moved in; however, they were certainly not as friendly. The result was a beehive full of rather angry and aggressive bees, who were not suitable for our community park setting. Even these bees were not happy with their situation, as there was then a mutiny within the colony! The drone bees decided they wanted to new leadership, and so the poor Queen met a tragic demise and was killed off. In actuality, this is not uncommon within honey bee colonies, but is typically done to help improve their overall colony health and reproductive abilities.
A hive without a Queen runs the risk of failing, so the drone bees got to work right away to prepare a replacement! One of the late Queen's daughter's - a worker bee egg - was then selected to become their new leader. After hatching, this particular larva was fed "royal jelly" to encourage her ultimate growth into their new Queen. Our hope was that this new Queen would help to calm her colony, seeing as they had grown her themselves - but the troubles did not stop there and the aggressive behavior continued.
Fast forward another month, and our beekeeper team embarked on a fascinating undertaking - to capture the Queen and replace her with a new (and calm) Italian Queen we purchased from Triad Bee Supply. So we did just that. Perhaps she sensed what was about to happen, because she was certainly difficult to locate. After almost 40 minutes of tedious searching through the frames and hive boxes, TJ spotted her! She was moved into a temporary beehive box, along with two of her frames that held some of the colony's pollen, honey, drones and workers; we wanted to be sure she was setup for success wherever she next called home.
We then walked down Prescott Street with the box - in full beekeeping attire no less, looking like a scene out of a science-fiction move - to donate these bees to a fellow beekeeper. Kaira Wagoner, PhD is a Research Scientist in UNCG's Biology Department, who studies honey bee health and also maintains the hives at the nearby Black Diamond Community Garden. She graciously accepted this donation and relocated our aggressive bee friends across town to another beehive location. Thankfully, after a few weeks of adjustment, our bees are thriving again. As the new Queen produced more eggs (of the Italian breed), the colony slowly transformed back to an entire community of docile Italian bees, and our friendly educational beehive is back. And the rest, as they say, is history!
May 22 marked the official opening of Thomas Sayre's piece called Cairn's Course at WestWoods along the railroad corridor on the western side of the Downtown Greenway. We also celebrated the soon to start construction of the final 1 mile of the 4 mile loop of the Downtown Greenway that will start later this year. If you were unable to attend, click here to watch the Facebook Live event.
Read recent article about the project by Dawn Kane in the News & Record.
Works continues on the West Woods site along the railroad corridor on the Downtown Greenway!
This monumental earthcasting is unlike anything else along the Downtown Greenway or in Greensboro. Three “cairns” of stacked concrete “stones” that were dug from the earth nearby will serve as a beacon to this former industrial site that is adjacent to Greensboro College’s Theatre Arts Campus at 501 Guilford Avenue. Watch the video from work on the site. Click here to read Dawn Kane's article in the News & Record.
Re-painting of the bridge supports at Morehead Park is complete! Local artist Darlene McClinton and team have added new life to the bridge supports and named it Bridging the Gap. Click here to read News & Record article by Dawn Kane. Watch the Live for 45 Session on December 9 at noon with Darlene and part of her creative team on their experience: Jennifer Meanley-UNCG Art Professor/MFA program, Neidy Perdomo- Local Graphic Designer, James Raleigh - Local Artist.
Artist Thomas Sayre is working hard on fabricating pieces for the West Woods Project along the railroad corridor on the Downtown Greenway.
These wire structures will be placed inside the dug holes before the iodized concrete is poured in. And the round terrazzo stone with a stainless steel bug inlay will be placed within the concrete spiral walkway that leads to the cairn structures. We anticipate that Thomas will start installation the first of October, weather dependent, with completion of the project in November.
In case you missed the article by Dawn Kane in the News & Record on Thursday, click here.
Since we could not celebrate on June 6th, we're celebrating National Trails Day with the City of Greensboro Parks & Recreation Department the entire month of June!
Each Monday, we will share videos and pics in an eblast of residents enjoying the Downtown Greenway and other trails in the area and on social media every day. Not receiving our eblasts? Email Laura Lorenz at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the list. Click here to go to our Facebook page. You can also see all pics here and videos here. We hope you will get out and find some new trails that you have not experienced before. You can search hundreds of local parks, trails and recreation opportunities in the Piedmont Discovery App. Click here for more info.
Click here for plans to make your own Mason Bee House.
Click here to learn more about all pollinators in an article in Wildlife in North Carolina Magazine.
Hi, my name is Reid Lorenz. I am a Senior at Grimsley High School and an approaching Eagle Scout in Boy Scout Troop 101. You may have noticed new additions to two of the cornerstones on the Downtown Greenway, at the Edible Orchard at Meeting Place and Woven Works Park in the Bird, Bee, and Butterfly Pollinator Garden that surrounds Muddy Creek stream. These new additions are raised mason bee houses, small houses made of cedar wood and stuffed with bamboo rods that help protect and save the declining mason bee population. Recently, bees are in danger from extinction, due to parasites, pesticides, and colony collapse disorder. But when most people hear about bees becoming extinct, they automatically think of honeybees because they are more well-known and affect us more prominently as they are the main pollinators that help our food grow and end up in our homes. But mason bees are just as important. It is thought that one mason bee can do the work of 100 honeybees. Therefore, the main goal of these houses is to help these bees in their pollinating process and give them a nice home to thrive in.
In addition to designing, fabricating and installing the houses, I will also plant some pollinator plants around the bases of the three houses at Meeting Place in spring 2020. According to Charlie Headington, local permaculture gardener and member of the Permaculture Guild, mason bees prefer blue, purple, and yellow flowers, so planting purple hyacinth, blue asters, or yellow black-eyed susans are the best options. Back to the houses themselves, the reason for the bamboo inside the houses, is for each bee to have their own nest. They are known as solitary bees, because they neither live in colonies nor have a single queen. Rather, each female mason bee lays four or five eggs in small, natural holes or cavities, like the bamboo rods, each egg separated by mud. You may wonder why the houses are facing the direction that they are—mason bees are ectothermic which means that they can’t regulate their body temperature so their houses need to face a south/southeast direction so they can stay warm with the sun in the winter months.
I want to thank Dabney Sanders, Downtown Greenway Project Manager, for letting me put these houses on the Downtown Greenway and can’t wait for the bees to start to cultivate the houses in the spring.
Reid Lorenz, BSA Troop 101
Have you been along Murrow Blvd lately? Don't blink because you will be surprised at how construction on the Downtown Greenway is moving along on Murrow Boulevard. Weather dependent, the eastern section of the Downtown Greenway from Gate City Blvd. to Fisher Ave. along Murrow Blvd. will be complete in October 2020. Click here to read the article in the News & Record on 9.16.19 about construction.
Construction started last week on the two remaining blocks on Smith Street from Prescott to Spring which will complete the northern section. Anticipated completion of construction will be in April. Then construction will begin on the largest section of the Downtown Greenway-- the eastern section along Murrow Blvd from Gate City Blvd to Fisher and Greene.
Click here to watch the segment on Spectrum News about the current construction. Beth Boulton, owner of Boulton Creative, talks about how construction on Smith Street and the Downtown Greenway are affecting her business-- in a good way!
Over 100 people came out on Monday, January 21 after the MLK Jr. Parade to celebrate the opening of the southern section of the Downtown Greenway along Bragg Street and the relocation and dedication of the MLK Jr. Bust first fabricated by local resident Wilbur Mapp and refurbished by artist Jim Gallucci. Click here to see all the photos from the event.