Texan by Nature (TxN) is proud to partner with 100+ conservation organizations working to positively benefit Texas’ natural resources and communities through innovative approaches. TxN accelerates conservation by bringing conservation organizations and business together through programs that connect and convene diverse stakeholders and catalyze science-based conservation efforts and projects to accelerate impact.
Learn more about TxN Conservation Partner, Hives for Heroes and how they are using honey bee conservation to positively impact military veterans.
Q: Tell us about Hives for Heroes and its mission.
A: Hives for Heroes is a national military veteran non-profit organization focusing on honey bee conservation, suicide prevention, and a healthy transition from service. Through the national network of beekeepers and veterans we provide connection, purpose, and healthy relationships fostering a lifelong hobby in beekeeping.
Q: What is the history of Hives for Heroes?
A: Hives for Heroes started in late 2018 in Houston, Texas with a small team of dedicated volunteers who have since become family. Founded by a Marine Corps veteran, Hives for Heroes has quickly grown into a nationwide organization, in all 50 states, and in Australia seeking to serve veterans in local communities.
How do you work to achieve your mission and who is your audience?
We are addressing the declining rates of the honey bee population and the high suicide rate in the veteran community (currently 22 a day) through beekeeping. Beekeeping provides veterans with purpose, connection, and a healthy outlet to reduce the suicide rate. Beekeeping is unique, allowing a beekeeper to suit up, overcome fear, accomplish a goal through process-oriented techniques, and walk away with a sense of accomplishment. By training and mentoring veterans to bee keep, we are also aiding in the conservation of bees.
“We think that mentorship is one of the greatest things that we can do in our lives. Just like in a hive, we all take part in our health and success. Together we can save bees and save vets!”
– Hives for Heroes Leadership Team
Q: What are examples of Hives for Heroes projects/programs?
A: The core of the Hives for Heroes program is one “newbee”, one mentor, one hive. Our team matches veterans and mentors based on proximity, and local beekeeping associations are involved. We recruit veterans, first responders, and mentors to join our beekeeping network through our social media platforms, @hivesforheroes. Interested veterans and mentors apply online on our website.
Q:What are the ecological and economic benefits of the projects/programs?
A: We have over 300 network members in Texas alone, and 83% of them are military veterans. This equates to 2,000 hives spread across Texas, which are primarily located in the greater Houston, DFW, Austin, and San Antonio areas. That means we are caring for approximately 120,000,000 bees at any given time! Texas is home to many acres of citrus and farmland, providing excellent locations for cultivating bees, an important pollinator.
Q: Tell us about the future of your organization. Do you have any upcoming initiatives, exciting events, or even challenges ahead?
A: We will continue to save bees and save vets here in Texas and across the country. Hives for Heroes is always looking for beekeepers to join the network as a mentor to a veteran newbee. One of our long-term goals is to build a bee sanctuary, with lots of native pollinator plants. This will serve as an education center for the community and training facility for veterans and first responders to learn beekeeping skills.
Q: How can individuals and organizations get involved and learn more?
A: You can follow us on social media @hivesforheroes or visit our website, www.hivesforheroes.com, for ways to get involved and support Hives for Heroes.
Texan by Nature is proud to partner with 100+ conservation organizations across Texas. Through our Conservation Partner network, we connect conservation organizations with the resources and relationships they need to extend their initiatives’ impact. Partner benefits include on-going features on social media, monthly media round-up, quarterly meetings, aggregated resources on fundraising, marketing/social media, and more.