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Bee there

Things should be buzzing June 7 across from Greenfield Town Common, where Second Congregational Church will be hosting its fourth annual Bee Fest.

The event, honoring former Greenfield minister Lorenzo Langstroth, the so-called “father of American beekeeping,” who perfected the moveable hive in 1852, and also authored “The Hive and the Honey-Bee,” which is still used today.

The event, from 10 a.m. to noon, will feature members of the Franklin County Beekeepers Association showing their observable hives and answering questions about keeping bees, as well as talks by University of Massachusetts researchers about bee health and pollination issues. There will also be a spring dance by Karen’s Dance Studio in bee costumes and kids’ craft making includes bee crowns and bee wands. Some of those crafts will be on display during a parade from the church grounds, next to which Langstroth once lived, to the adjoining Greenfield Farmers Market.

Tom Sullivan of Pollinators Welcome will demonstrate how to make “bee boxes” that native pollinators can use as nests.

“An important part is teaching kids to care for the earth,” said Sandy Thomas, an event organizer. The ongoing plight of honeybees, which have fallen victim to Colony Collapse Disorder, provides a timely focus for the church’s event, which also will serve to raise money to double Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits at the farmers market and for Heifer International’s efforts to send honeybees to needy families around the world as a way to not only stem hunger, but also to improve pollination.

“We’re excited to be doing something about bees,” Thomas said, referring to the set of conditions that have killed off more than 10 million beehives since 2006 in this country and has decimated 50 to 90 percent of all bees in various places around the globe. “It’s so upsetting. This is a way we can actually do something.”

To raise money, Thomas has contacted possible donors around the country who have provided more than $3,300 in items for a silent auction drawing. Among them are a bumblebee doorknob valued at $385, a queen bee on canvas painted by a Seattle artist and more. The bee fest, which ties in with a “Gotta Bee Downtown” Friday evening promotion coordinated by the Greenfield Business Association on June 6, provides “a way of looking back on our heritage, with Lorenzo Langstroth and his work, with a way to move forward, educating people about the environment,” said Second Congregational pastor, the Rev. Corey Sanderson. “It’s teaching kids that bees aren’t nasty little things that you swat; they’re an important part of our ecosystem. And it’s raising money to help people both locally and around the world.”

Working with the church is the Franklin County Beekeepers Association, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, the Greenfield Farmers Market and Karen’s Dance Studio.

You can reach Richie Davis at rdavis@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, Ext. 269

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