As we approach the cooler Fall temperatures, we are excited to share that walking tours are back! These free guided tours of the Downtown Greenway are a great way to explore and learn al the intricacies of the greenway. Join us to learn how the greenway came to be, Greensboro's history, surrounding neighborhoods, public art installations, environmental stewardship, community stories, economic impact, future projects, and more!
Tours will start and finish at LoFi Park (500 N. Eugene Street) and be led by Program Coordinator, Chelsea Phipps, or Project Manager, Dabney Sanders. Each tour is approximately 3 hours and will cover the entire 4-mile loop, including the three miles of completed greenway and also the future section to be constructed along the western side. Space is limited for each tour, which are offered monthly on Saturday mornings from 9 am - 12 noon, during September to December.
Register online to reserve your space.
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!
A renovation of LoFi Park located at the corner of Smith and Eugene Streets began in November. The new design by David Mudd and Justin Vettel, Permaculture Gardeners, will include berms with boulders and new trees, a rain garden and an open lawn space. The grass will be greener than it ever has been before. Completion of renovations in the spring.
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
We need 45 people to sign up for this special one-time viewing! If you have every wondered how you can make a difference to help our pollinators– here is a great opportunity!
Click here to reserve your ticket.
There is a fee for each ticket. If we do not reach the minimum number of tickets reserved by February 28, your credit card will not be charged.
Local bee experts from UNCG’s Plant & Pollinator Center will be on hand to answer questions. Also, Boy Scout Reid Lorenz will have plans for making your own Mason Bee House and samples to share like those he installed on the Downtown Greenway this fall.
Corey Hillman shares ideas for making Greensboro a walkable city. What can you do to help make this dream into a reality? Click here to his read article.
Corey Hillman is a graduate of Baylor University holding a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. He is a Greensboro native and a member of the Communications Committee for the Downtown Greenway. You can follow him at @GboroPhysio.
2018 FREE Fitness Class Schedule on the Downtown Greenway
Classes this year will begin in May and will be held every Tuesday from 6-7pm through October (except for July because it is SO hot!) on the Downtown Greenway located at 475 Spring Garden Street. The Morehead Trail parking lot will be blocked off to cars during the class. Parking is available on the street or at 408 Blandwood Street and 500 Spring Garden Street.
We are excited to offer free classes for the 4th season in partnership with the Bryan YMCA. We have some regular instructors from past seasons and welcome our new instructors. Click here for the classes/instructors.
Look out for some new features this year-- a frequent attendee punch card and we will be participating in the DGI Summer Passport program-- the more you come the more chances you have of getting free stuff!
Special thanks to the Greensboro Permaculture Guild for their work on the Downtown Greenway on the section in front of Deep Roots Market on Eugene. They have transferred fruit trees and perennials from the community garden at Holy Trinity to the area in front of Deep Roots to make way for new building construction at Holy Trinity.
Thanks to Randall Hayes, Charlie Headington, Charlotte LeHecka, Alyssa McKim, David Mudd, Rob Pritchard, Elaine Shields, and Justin Vettel for coming out on a foggy morning to get their hands in the dirt!
Stop by Deep Roots for lunch and enjoy the Permaculture Guild's hard work in beautifying the area and the Downtown Greenway. Deep Roots will be helping to maintain and water this section-- thank you!