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History of the Bee Habitat

4 years in the making, the Bee Habitat at Tucker Nature Preserve has been a labor of love for hundreds of volunteers, organizations, and the amazing folks at the Tucker Nature Preserve and Friends of Tucker Parks. Here's the timeline of major events.

2018 – An idea was buzzing around the Friends of Tucker Parks (FOTP) groups: Nature, pollinators, bees, and parks – Lets have a bee habitat where folks can observe and learn about bees and pollinators while enjoying our Tucker Parks. What better place to host some bee friends than the Tucker Nature Preserve? The Bee Initiative was born!

2019 – Fundraising began with the annual FOTP silent auction dedicated to raising funds for a Bee Habitat with over $7K raised. Later that same year Lorrain Cochran-Johnson, our District 7 Dekalb County commissioner heard about the “bee idea” and committed $50K toward the effort.

Members of the Bee Board & Tucker Parks & Rec view the designated Bee Habitat area at the Bee Habitiat Kick-off meeting.

2020 – well you know what happened…regardless, in September we meet outside at the Tucker Nature Preserve, masked and socially distanced, to officially kick-off the effort. A volunteer driven Bee Board was formed to provide direction, input and expertise, a mission statement was crafted and adopted and planning began! 1st step – a Master Plan for the Tucker Nature Preserve (TNP) including the Bee Habitat meadow and apiary areas was commissioned by the Tucker Parks & Recreation department.

Design layout of the Bee Habitat and meadow as part of the Tucker Nature Preserve Master Plan.

2021 – The TNP and Bee Habitat Master plan was developed by Root Designs. The plans were refined with the input of the Bee Board, FOTP and Tucker Parks & Rec. The team then defined the scope of Phase 1 of the Bee Habitat. Now we had a plan that supported the vision, the mission and the funds available to make it happen!

Bee Board members outlining the Beehive fence.

2022 – Q1 Lets get going on execution! “The Bee Habitat @ Tucker Nature Preserve” was selected by the Bee Board as our official name. Prep on the Bee Habitat area began in earnest in January and continued through March. The site was cleared, the trail established, 79 native buffer and pollinator supportive trees were planted, bee education signage was designed, Beehives were ordered and painted. The Beekeeper shed was ordered and delivered. Getting closer!

Volunteers preparing the meadow for planting.

2022 – Q2 The Pollinator meadow was prepped for planting during the Great American Clean-up Day at the Nature Preserve on 4/2/22. The meadow will be seeded mid/late April and then the beehives and bees will be introduced to their new home. The educational signs will be ordered and installed; and final touches made to the site.

What to except in the wildflower meadow. It takes 3 years and 3 seedings for a wild flower meadow to mature. 1st year planting will bloom in the late spring and summer. 2nd year seeding will be done in Spring 2023, 3rd year seeding will be done in Spring 2024. After that, the meadow will be self-sufficient.

June 2022 – The Bee Habitat is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! There will be a ribbon cutting celebration open to the public.

Dekalb County Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson, City of Tucker Council member Virginia Rece, Former City of Tucker Council member Matt Robbins and FOTP Program Manager Suzanne Borchert – ready for the 4/2/22 Work Day at the Tucker Nature Preserve and Bee Habitat.

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