Bee­keep­ing, honey op­er­a­tion buzzes amid ceme­tery’s gravesites

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - STATE NEWS - By Kathy Wil­lens

The silent graves and mau­soleums of Brook­lyn’s Green-Wood ceme­tery are the fi­nal rest­ing place of lu­mi­nar­ies who cre­ated a buzz when they were alive, like com­poser Leonard Bern­stein, news­pa­per­man Ho­race Gree­ley and mav­er­ick artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

It’s also home to some 600,000 hon­ey­bees and a bee­keep­ing op­er­a­tion that churns out honey sold un­der the brand name “The Sweet Hereafter.”

Brook­lyn bee­keeper Davin Lar­son, 30, who worked with bees as a youngster grow­ing up in the Mid­west, got the idea for the hives while lis­ten­ing to a clas­si­cal mu­sic con­cert at GreenWood’s cen­tral chapel two years ago.

“I was sit­ting there when I thought, “This has to be a per­fect place to keep bees in the city,’” he said.

Founded in 1839, GreenWood sprawls over 478 acres of rolling hills, wind­ing roads and pretty paths and ponds, mak­ing it one of the larger green ar­eas in the city.

Lar­son pro­posed the idea to ceme­tery vol­un­teer Ni­cole Fran­cis, her­self a back­yard bee­keeper. She sold the con­cept to the ceme­tery’s pub­lic pro­gram­ming di­rec­tor.

To­day, the bees help pol­li­nate the ceme­tery’s tons of flow­er­ing plants and trees, said John Con­nolly, GreenWood’s Gen­eral Man­ager Pub­lic En­gage­ment and In­volve­ment.

To help de­fray the high cost of main­tain­ing the hives, sup­port­ers of the pro­gram are en­cour­aged to shell out $500 to spon­sor a hive, or $250 for half a hive.

Green-Wood’s bee­keep­ers har­vested 200 pounds of honey this year, sold from a wheeled cart out­side the ceme­tery’s gothic main gate.

KATHY WIL­LENS — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

The honey is har­vested from hives lo­cated in­side the 478acre ceme­tery as part of a pro­gram to fight colony col­lapse dis­or­der among bees, says Green-Wood Man­ager of Pub­lic En­gage­ment and Devel­op­ment John Con­nolly.

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