First-graders in Mary Lee Saucier’s class at St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Metairie have been as busy as bees of late.
First, they raised money selling bee-friendly plants to their school community. Then, on June 1, they trekked to St. Joseph Abbey in St. Benedict, bringing apiary equipment they bought with their earnings to Jeff Horchoff, the volunteer beekeeper behind Abbee Honey, which is the abbey’s own brand of sweet stuff. The kids also gave Horchoff a gift certificate to an online honeybee supply store.
Horchoff had built up a buzz at the school about two years, when he came to the World Honey Bee Day there, bringing breads and honey from the abbey for the kids to taste. The day was a lesson on the importance of honey bees and their decline in population.
The equipment from St. Martin’s, including frames for the boxes that hold the bees, helped soothe the sting from the March 3 floods on the north shore. Sixteen of the abbey’s 18 hives were lost. There are now 32.