All the Buzz Behind the “Save the Bees” Club


Rachel Lichtenwalner

Economics teacher Bryan Wallace plays an integral part in the "Save the Bees" Club.

It seems like the new Save the Bees club is all the buzz.

Save the Bees is working hard to raise awareness of bees and the impact these crucial insects have on our lives.

Senior Bryce Boutelle started it all. After researching bees last year, he realized how endangered they are in the world.

Bees take care of agriculture, said Boutelle, so it’s important to protect them.

Bees are vital to the fertilization of crops, as their pollination leads to food for us.

The number of bees around the world has unfortunately decreased over the years due to varroa mites, said Georgia Master Beekeeper Cindy Bee (yes, this is her real name).  

They first began to pose a threat to bees in the mid-80s, generating a global problem.

These pests are constantly infiltrating beehives, as the only way they can reproduce is by attaching themselves to bees and depleting their immune systems, killing them in the process.
Save the Bees has several goals this school year. The primary one is to purchase a beehive for the school.

The group is determined to get a hive that will create the perfect “controlled bee-friendly environment,” the club’s sponsor, special education and social studies teacher Aaron Darling, said in an email.  

To meet this goal, Save the Bees started selling bee t-shirts in early September.

The club has recently raised enough money from the t-shirts to get them closer to their overall goal. The money will be used to obtain the bees and their hive, along with pollinator-friendly plants to situate about the school.

Darling said he enjoys seeing students invested in their passions.

“I want to always help students with something they care about,” Darling said.

Although he is not a sponsor, economics teacher Bryan Wallace plays a significant part in the club by letting members use his room and offering support and advice.

“It’s kind of a quirky little cause,” Wallace said of his initial reaction to the club.

Wallace’s attitude toward Save the Bees changed, however, the more time he spent studying bees with Boutelle. Wallace quickly understood the jeopardy bees are in and the action humanity must take to shelter them.

It may be awhile before the bees are a part of the school’s family. The club predicts the project will be completed sometime around March.

Wallace said the group is still examining the school’s 60-acre campus to decide on the best spot to sell merchandise and settle the hive.

Wallace said although members are not very familiar with the maintenance the bees require, they are considering harvesting and selling the beehive’s honey around the school in the future.

Wallace said the club also has been researching places where it can buy the bees, and they think they might have found a great location in Toccoa. At a cheap cost, the club can drive up and acquire the bees there from a local beekeeper.

Since it is Boutelle’s last year before graduating, he wants the club to be passed down to impassioned leaders who will sustain the interest in the club and, of course, the hive. And when he leaves the school, Boutelle said he may have bees in his future.

“I am going to either start a club at college or join one,” Boutelle said.

At their meeting on Friday, Sept. 7, Save the Bees welcomed guest speaker Peter Jackson to educate them on the insects.

Jackson, a beekeeper, held a question and answer session. He even brought in honey and beekeeping equipment and taught students the logistics of maintaining a hive.

“The club members seemed very engaged and more interested in this meeting than any meeting in the past,” said Boutelle.

Wallace said he thinks learning about bees through this club will make students more environmentally aware of their surroundings and inspire them to take action to benefit the community.

“A diversity of experience is a cool thing,” Wallace said.