Beekeepers house their hives at SMSU
On the north and west part of the Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) campus is a 40-acre wildlife area that was created in 1998. It includes prairie land, deciduous woodland and some coniferous land.
“It kind of has a little bit of all the major biomes in the state,” said Alyssa Anderson, a biology professor at SMSU.
The wildlife area has trails and is home to deer and birds. Since 2019, it has also been home to honey bees.
The idea to have honey bees at the wildlife area emerged around 2017 when Bill Reilly approached SMSU administrators and asked if he and others could keep bees at the wildlife area because they couldn’t do so within Marshall city limits. SMSU Dean of Arts, Letters and Sciences Aimee Shouse said the university thought such a partnership had “great academic potential.”
She, Anderson and other SMSU staff started working with the Southwest Minnesota Beekeepers Club, of which Reilly is a member, to figure out how to make it work. Shouse said SMSU was able to allow people to keep hives on its campus because they could be used for educational purposes.
The bee yard is located in the north and east part of the wildlife area where there is a line of trees that creates a windbreak.
“I love that we have it,” Shouse said. “Somebody just had a great idea, talked to somebody at the university and we were able to capitalize on this great idea.”
Reilly said SMSU has been a great partner to work with. He said he donated funds to help with the fencing and signs that were posted around the bee yard.
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