Environment

Bee The Change: Chippewa Valley Apiary Doubles in Size

with expanded bee apiary, everyone can be a beekeeper

Abigail Bostwick, photos by Andrea Paulseth |

Local beekeeper Don Hauser, president of the Chippewa Valley Beekeepers Association, shows off the queen bee of a Beaver Creek Reserve hive.
Local beekeeper Don Hauser, president of the Chippewa Valley Beekeepers Association, shows off a drone bee of a Beaver Creek Reserve hive in 2019. 

More than six decades into its existence, the Chippewa Valley Beekeepers Association will expand its buzz in 2021 by doubling its community apiary.

“The community apiary is the first of its kind in the state,” said Corey Grotte, manager of the association. “The CVBA in partnership with Xcel Energy and Beaver Creek Reserve operate a community apiary at this site, offering everyone a chance to be a beekeeper.”

Our main goal is to promote pollinators through healthy beekeeping practices. 

Corey grotte

manager of chippewa valley beekeepers association

The Xcel Energy Gravel Island Substation plot has been planted with pollinator plants that will host native pollinators and honey bees alike, Grotte said. “This is especially beneficial for (beekeepers) who don’t have access to habitat, or limited by neighbors or city ordinances,” he said. “So, whether your desire is to promote pollinators in general, or to harvest honey, this is an opportunity to consider.”

Though the CVBA is a leader in developing pollinator projects at many sites, this site is unique in that it is the only one open for beekeeping.

“Our main goal is to promote pollinators through healthy beekeeping practices,” Grotte said. “Whether it’s pollinating your own garden, or your whole neighborhood, pollinators are important for everyone.”

While beekeeping is a great family hobby, startup costs and time commitment can be daunting. The community apiary allows folks the chance to try out beekeeping with just a small investment and support. The rental fee for CVBA members is $20 each year and includes a 16x16 fenced plot that can accommodate up to four hives, support from apiary managers and mentors, and operation of rented harvesting equipment.

“(Plus) the camaraderie that comes with beekeeping,” Grotte said, adding how beekeeping is a great hobby during a pandemic, as participants can safely social distance.

CVBA meets monthly on the second Sunday of the month at 2pm. Currently, meetings are held via Zoom.

“It’s a great blend of experience and novice beekeepers getting together to share knowledge and friendship,” organizers said.


Check out more information about the project, or learn more about beekeeping in the Chippewa Valley, at chippewavalleybeekeepers.com.