Nashville is abuzz over 200,000 new honey bees on the top of the city’s new convention center.
A couple of months before it opened in 2013, my cousin’s husband (my first-cousin-in-law?) gave me an incredible tour of Nashville’s impressive new convention center, the Music City Center. (He was a supervising engineer on the project.) In the album of photos I posted on Flickr, I included a shot of four acres of its roof planted with prairie grasses; a part of its water collection system. (There are many more acres of solar panels and other green-things, also.)
Earlier this week, I heard this story on Nashville’s public radio station, WPLN, about a volunteer beekeeper who has helped install and is managing honey bee beehives on that roof. The hives were an idea the center staff borrowed from a convention center in Vancouver. (Sidenote: My suggestion for something else Nashville should borrow from Vancouver: Their understanding of the importance of bicycles in urban planning.)
According to the story, the Music City Center’s roof-bee population has quickly grown to 200,000+ and the honey they will produce (about 350 lbs. a year) is being used in the Music City Center’s kitchens and as part of the center’s marketing efforts.
Most surprising thing in the story: there were over 20 million bees in downtown Nashville already, even before the arrival of the Music City Center hives.
As I work in downtown Nashville and try to take a short walk or bike ride sometime during the day, I’m surprised that I can’t recall ever seeing a bee there. I’ve decided that most of the old bees must be hanging out around Printer’s Alley and Lower Broad buzzing for tips.
However, they still have dreams of making it big one day. And for a honey bee in Nashville, that now means making it to the top of the Music City Center.
Like this guy: