The Conservation Wrangler program is possible thanks to thoughtful investment from partners. Support for Texan by Nature’s Work with this project is provided by:
Hives for Heroes is a military veteran non-profit organization that promotes honey bee conservation and a healthy transition from service. Founded and based in Houston, Hives for Heroes has operations across the United States and strives to make its program in Texas the model for international expansion. The goal of Hives for Heroes is to facilitate healthy relationships with a purpose by fostering a lifetime hobby of beekeeping. The Hives for Heroes process centers around a “NewBEE” veteran who is mentored by a local beekeeper as they work together on a single hive. In the first year, “NewBEEs” follow their mentor’s instructions to learn the basics of apiary management. By year two, veterans continue their work alongside other beekeepers in a larger community bee yard, including Memorial Hive lots to honor those that have fallen in combat. In year three, now experienced beekeepers, veterans have the opportunity to lead “NewBEEs” as a “Mentor”.
After military service, many veterans struggle with depression, unhealthy relationships, and addictive behaviors. Beekeeping is a unique hobby that aligns well with those who have experienced military service. Similar to combat, beekeeping allows a veteran to suit up, experience healthy adrenaline, overcome fear, accomplish a goal through process-oriented techniques, and walk away with a sense of accomplishment. This therapeutic practice easily translates to their personal and professional lives when dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and other traumas from service. Veterans are also able to learn a new trade while contributing to Hives for Heroes’ broader goal of pollinator conservation.
Sustainable beekeeping practices are increasingly important, as honeybees in the United States are experiencing severe population declines. Threats to bees include habitat loss, invasive species, pesticide use, pathogens, and improper management practices. The decrease in pollinator biodiversity and abundance has negative impacts on air quality, agricultural production and food security, and the health of native vegetation.
To support a healthy transition from service and alleviate stress on bee populations, Hives for Heroes regularly serves the community and fellow bee conservationists through volunteering and assisting in apiary management, whether it be in a large outdoor space or a single hive backyard management.
Through the national network of beekeepers and veterans, Hives for Heroes provides connection, purpose, and healthy relationships, fostering a lifelong hobby in beekeeping.
Hives for Heroes apiary mentors own 18,279 hives as of May 31, 2022.
1.02 billion bees are stewarded by the work of Hives for Heroes.
2,200+ veterans and mentors are involved in the Hives for Heroes mentorship network.
$700 million value in U.S. honey bee products and services sold worldwide (USDA).
4,000 bee species in the U.S. pollinate over 80% of all flowering plants including over 130 fruits and vegetables.
On average, a bee can travel 2-5 miles outside the hive per day, meaning Hives for Heroes bees can pollinate approximately 17,000-34,000 acres of land collectively per day.
Hives for Heroes partners with organizations such as Texas Beekeeping Association, Winding Creek Apiary, Old Security Farms, Texas Bee Supply, US military and Department of Defense installations, and many others. Generous financial support has been provided by TechnipFMC, Guckenheimer, Microsoft, Texas Beekeeping Association, Blue Ranch Farms, Kodiak Gas, Humble ISD, Mitsubishi, Rice University, Local Foods Texas, Hillco, and Ascend Performance Materials.
Hives for Heroes was selected as a Texan by Nature Conservation Wrangler based on the project’s positive impact to people, prosperity, and natural resources. Through the program, Texan by Nature is working with Hives for Heroes to address the following needs:
Increased public awareness of the challenges that veterans face while transitioning from service, and the many health benefits associated with beekeeping.
Funding toprovide participating veterans with the highest quality beekeeping resources and mentoring.
Partnerships with diverse groups such as local businesses, non-profits, and schools to support Hives for Heroes.
Participation from military veterans looking to learn a new skill and steward their health and healing through beekeeping.
Texan by Nature’s Vision and Support:
Texan by Nature (TxN) is working with Hives for Heroes to bring a broader awareness to the ways that beekeeping and mentorship can support veterans in overcoming the challenges they face while transitioning from service. In addition to highlighting Hives for Heroes as an effective model and innovative way to engage veterans in conservation efforts, TxN is working with HfH to create a strategic plan, calculate Return on Conservation, engage new partners, and more.
Contact Texan by Nature at firstname.lastname@example.org& (512) 284-7482 if you can provide resources, connections, or are interested in partnering and would like to learn more.