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College named Bee Campus USA for conservation, educational efforts

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Mar 16, 2018

The College of Lake County was recently named an affiliate of Bee Campus USA, a distinction granted by Bee City USA, an Asheville, N.C.-based nonprofit that involves cities and college campuses in promoting bee conservation and the role of pollinators in maintaining food supplies. The designation recognizes CLC’s efforts that include an apiary (managed beehives), which launched on the Grayslake Campus in fall 2016.

“The apiary shows CLC students and the community a diversified, integrated approach to food production and eco-friendly gardening,” said Rory Klick, horticulture department chair. “As honey bees gather pollen and nectar for their survival, they pollinate crops such as apples, cherries, blueberries, melons, broccoli and almonds. One out of three mouthfuls of food is the result of a pollinator.”Photo of Ed Popelka in CLC bee colony

CLC’s 10-hive apiary was initiated by Bernard Kondenar of Antioch, a student majoring in sustainable agriculture who served as student trustee in 2016-2017. As part of a summer 2016 horticulture course, Kondenar worked with Klick to get college approval of the project, after which he coordinated design and construction with Ed Popelka, CLC maintenance engineer and beekeeper. The apiary has been used as an educational tool and a source of fresh honey sold on campus.

Photo: Ed Popelka,  a College of Lake County maintenance engineer and beekeeper, examines a hive in CLC's apiary (managed beehives). 

“It’s incredibly gratifying to see a personal project become acclaimed nationally,” said Kondenar, who plans to graduate in May with A.A.S. degrees in sustainable agriculture and horticulture production in addition to an Associate in Arts degree. In fall 2018 he plans to transfer to Lake Forest College and earn a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, followed by a master’s degree and work in international environmental policy.

To maintain Bee Campus USA status, a college must have an affiliate-sanctioned committee that meets regularly and provides a forum for campus activities. They range from providing pollinator education to establishing or restoring habitat that provides food, nesting sites and overwintering sites for pollinators. CLC has developed a plan to plant more pollinator-friendly plants on campus and further reduce the amount of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, noted David Husemoller, CLC sustainability manager. Additionally, the apiary is part of the college’s planned sustainability trail, designed to highlight green efforts inside and outside the Grayslake Campus.

Phyllis Stiles, Bee Campus USA director said, “Imperiled pollinators are responsible for the reproduction of 90 percent of the world’s wild plant and tree species. The College of Lake County is a stellar example of the influence educational institutions can have on their students and the broader community.” CLC is the 34th college or university to receive the designation, which follows five national and regional “green” awards in the last 18 months.

To learn about CLC’s other awards, visit For more information on Bee Campus USA, visit For more information on CLC’s apiary, contact Husemoller at (847) 543-2643 or