Here at Savannah Bee Co., we understand that the destiny of humanity and honeybees is deeply intertwined. The Exuma Project shows just how much of an impact we can have on each other: In 2014, SBC founder Ted Dennard got a message from the Exuma Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving and uplifting the lives of the people of a small chain of islands in the Caribbean. He learned that in spite of its balmy beach weather and many acres of flowering plants, Exuma had absolutely no honeybees anywhere—an absence that called Ted into action.
Applying the experience he gained in the Peace Corps in his younger years, Ted flew to Exuma to teach basic beekeeping skills to a small group of interested islanders. A year later, he returned on a private plane (who knew checking bees as baggage on a commercial airline is not allowed?) with 12 hives that were then introduced to pastel-colored boxes nestled along the coast and throughout the palm forests. It was then up to the burgeoning beekeepers to tend to this fragile experiment—and they made it a tremendous success: As Ted observes, “We hit the bullseye.”
Exuma now boasts 15 trained beekeepers who cultivate and care for many dozens of hives, supporting families with honey sales and bringing a sustainable source of economic growth to the island. Even more amazing is how the bees have thrived beyond the beekeepers’ purview and can now be found buzzing and pollinating throughout the wild tropical landscape—evidence that nature will always find a way.
The Exuma Project continues to grow with grants for new equipment and more hives. The grand experiments has also brought SBC’s Bee Cause Project to the schoolchildren of Exuma, inspiring a new generation of beekeepers to focus on creating a better world for all with the help of the bees.