In its efforts to educate the students of East Carolina University about environmental issues, the Sustainability Film and Discussion Series is bringing a documentary about the impact and importance bees have in everyone’s life.
The “More Than Honey” documentary will be free and open to students, faculty and community members tonight at 6:30 in the Main Student Center Ballroom B.
The film will cover the decline in bee colonies and what that means for the modern world. Although the film was released in 2013, the bee population is still a concern to the beekeepers taking care of them, according to the ECU events calendar page.
Chad Carwein, ECU’s sustainability manager, said he picked out this film specifically because of its impact on the environment and food products.
“The film really raises awareness to the issue that has been termed ‘Colony Collapse Disorder,’ that is a phenomenon that over the past 14 years, bees have started disappearing and dying off,” Carwein said.
Not only does this affect the quality of the environment because of bee pollination, but it also affects the food people eat. According to Carwein, bees pollinate every one in three bites a person consumes every day.
ECU geography professor Karen Mulcahy expresses her love for beekeeping by taking care of about a dozen hives. Mulcahy will also attend the event as a guest speaker for a discussion after the film.
“It looks to be a very interesting film that approaches beekeeping from different perspectives, although, running through the film there is a theme that honey bees, like most pollinators, are in decline,” Mulcahy said. “A lot of our food production relies on pollinators, so if you like to eat food, they are a necessity.”
According to Carwein, the film more deeply explores the potential causes, parasites, viruses and, most importantly, the pesticides that are put on crop fields.
“In particular to pesticides, they don’t stay on the crops, they get into our water system and travel through the air near the surrounding fields with pollinated plants,” Carwein said.
Dale Aycock, a former comparative medicine professor at ECU, found a love for beekeeping in 2005 and later became a charter member of the Tar River Beekeepers in 2012.
“At that time, I was making my own home-brewed beer and I was interested in making mead, which comes from honey,” Aycock said. “Turns out I started (to) have much more fun, and now I make a lot of honey and sell a lot of honey.”
Along with raising awareness for honey bees, Carwein is applying for ECU to be a part of Bee Campus USA. He hopes that ECU can live up to the standards of a bee-friendly campus and make a safe environment for the bees as well as make it interactive for students.
Already being a Tree Campus USA and bicycle-friendly school, Carwein is in the process of putting two bee hive boxes on the Health Sciences Campus in May to make it a bee campus.
“It would be nice to see, along with the beatification process, that more and more native species of all pollinators would be on the campus and to have more all over the city of Greenville,” Aycock said.
Schools have to engage students and faculty in their efforts to apply to be a part of Bee Campus USA. These requirements include forming a committee, keeping up a web and social media presence, offer pollinated-focused courses or workshops and host awareness events, such as this one.
“Being a part of a bee campus is the education aspects of it, to try to bring forth awareness of the importance of pollinators,” Mulcahy said. “It provides a good, safe and healthy environment for the bees, which makes me happy because we all spend time here on campus and it makes it a happy environment overall.”