Ford employee Mary Mason, who works at the Ford River Rouge Complex in Dearborn, Michigan, has taken up the task of tending to tens of thousands of honeybees right outside the complex. Honeybee populations have been steadily declining for decades, and Mason hopes to combat the decline by supporting the more than 80,000 bees installed in two beehives on the grounds of the Rouge plant.
Factors such as Colony Collapse Disorder, pesticides, and parasites have had serious negative effects on US honeybees, one of our vital pollinating species. Ford is working with Mason to further its wildlife habitat strategy, which over the last 15 years has turned the Rouge Complex from a plain gray building to a place where nature thrives.
The Heritage 2000 Program started Ford’s environmental initiatives, where they brought in a sustainability designer to make over the complex. Because the complex already has flowering crabapple trees on their grounds, it seemed like a perfect fit for the honeybees.
The Ford complex honeybees were introduced to the orchard thirteen years ago, and Mason, who brought some of her own bees in as well, has volunteered to take care of them for the last three. Mason shared that the die-off rate of bees in Michigan is 60 to 70%, and she’s glad for the chance to care for the bees in a pesticide-free environment.