MDC adds MO Hives KC as a conservation partner in cities

News from the region
Published Date
05/20/2022
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Kansas City, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is entering into a community conservation partnership with MO Hives KC to be bee friendly in urban neighborhoods. MO Hives has worked in Kansas City to place beehives and native plants in vacant lots in Kansas City, while also serving a youth conservation program. MDC’s support will help the non-profit group expand the program to neighborhoods in the St. Louis, Springfield, and Jefferson City areas.

“They’re converting vacant lots into native pollinator habitat,” said Jason Jensen, MDC community and private land conservation field chief. “They also do outreach and education in communities on the importance of pollinators. They’re also providing jobs to under-represented youths.”

Connecting people with nature in cities and rural areas is a priority for MDC. The MO Hives program utilizes honeybees to make honey, pollinate urban food gardens, and provide educational and economic opportunities. They often utilize underused vacant lots and land as hive locations. Establishing native plants on underused vacant lots supports bees, butterflies, and scenic green space within cities. Honeybees are not a native insect, but the program’s efforts provide habitat for native bees and other pollinators, too.

“MO Hives KC exists to bring about greater awareness of the role urban residents play in the creation, preservation, and expansion of pollinator habitats,” said Marion Pierson, the group’s founder. “Through education, community outreach, engagement, and support, MO Hives KC will achieve this objective.”

The project exposes youths hired to establish and maintain apiaries to entrepreneurism based on principles of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), said Pierson, who is a medical doctor.

“By converting vacant land into pollinator habitats and apiary sites for honeybees, MO Hives KC will help play an active role in community health and wellness, as one of every three bites of food depends on pollinators for growth,” she said. “MDC has encouraged and supported our efforts since we began our journey two years ago.”

MDC’s funding help is exciting and appreciated, Pierson said. The group has worked with partners such as the Heartland Conservation Alliance and the Full Employment Council to establish STEM internship jobs related to urban agriculture and conservation. The program will now expand to new urban neighborhoods.

“Support from the Missouri Department of Conservation will allow MO Hives to include even more Missourians in the conservation conversation,” she said.

The partnership agreement was signed at a reception on May 19 with the Missouri Conservation Commission. In addition to learning about beekeeping, native plants, and pollinators, the youths gain an understanding of why conservation is important to people.

For more information about MO Hives KC, visit The buzz is building! - MO HIVES KC. To learn more about MDC’s Community Conservation programs, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/4iG.