Apply to Sponsor-a-Hive to Help Native Bees

The Bee Conservancy's Sponsor-a-Hive program gives schools and community groups the opportunity to get a free bee house to help native bees.

Environmental nonprofit The Bee Conservancy has opened applications for the 2021 Sponsor-a-Hive program. This gives schools, gardens, and other community groups across the U.S. and Canada a chance to help mitigate a major environmental crisis and bolster communities using free native bee homes. This spring, The Bee Conservancy will deliver 500 homes — 200 from last fall’s awardees and 300 for the 2021 awardees. This is the largest campaign of its kind in the six-year-history of the program.

Sponsor-a-Hive gifts native bee houses, ongoing support, and educational materials to awardees chosen for their commitments to environmental stewardship, education, and food justice. With their guardianships of local bee populations, the awardees also help empower underserved communities to grow food, bolster local ecology, all while protecting keystone species.

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Native Bees Are At Risk

The Bee Conservancy’s unprecedented expansion of its flagship program — extending for the first time into Canada — comes at a critical time. Currently, 1 in 4 of North America’s 4,000 bee species is at risk of extinction. A staggering report released last month found that 25 percent of wild bees have disappeared across the globe have disappeared in the last 30 years.

Native bees are a particularly important puzzle piece for a healthy ecosystem: Those species are responsible for pollinating 80 percent of flowering plants around the world, according to the United States Geological Survey. Bee pollination yields more than $15 billion in increased crop value each year, the government agency reports.

“To mitigate an environmental crisis of this scale, it takes a hive,” says Guillermo Fernandez, founder and executive director of The Bee Conservancy. “We are all impacted by declines in bee populations and the toll their loss takes on the environment. We are thrilled that Sponsor-a-Hive unites a broad range of populations from schools, nature preserves, food banks, community gardens and more in the fight for pollinator security.”

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Sustainable Hives Help Create Green Jobs

The program also contributes to safeguarding a larger ecosystem. Designed with sustainability, bee health, and user-friendliness in mind, each bee house is constructed with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, sustainably-sourced pine. The houses are manufactured by Brooklyn Woods. This organization trains unemployed and low-income New Yorkers in woodworking. It offers some graduates one of the first paying jobs of their careers.

“Sponsor-a-Hive isn’t just about protecting bees,” says Rebecca Louie, TBC’s managing director. “It’s about bringing people together to engage with nature, grow food and community bonds, and build economic opportunities in the green sector.”

Applications will remain open until 11:59 p.m. on April 30.

Apply Now

Next, check out the top 10 plants for bees and pollinators.

Lori Vanover
Lori has 20 years of experience writing and editing home, garden, birding and lifestyle content for several publishers. As Birds & Blooms senior digital editor, she leads a team of writers and editors sharing birding tips and expert gardening advice. Since joining Trusted Media Brands 13 years ago, she has held roles in digital and print, editing magazines and books, curating special interest publications, managing social media accounts, creating digital content and newsletters, and working with the Field Editors—Birds & Blooms network of more than 50 backyard birders. Passionate about animals and nature, Lori has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural and Environmental Communications from the University of Illinois. In 2023, she became certified as a Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener, and she is a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and sits on the organization's Publications Advisory Committee. She frequently checks on her bird feeders while working from home and tests new varieties of perennials, herbs and vegetable plants in her ever-growing backyard gardens.