Universities and schools to start beekeeping in Sioux Falls

Published: May. 23, 2023 at 7:23 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - In August of 2022, Sioux Falls City Council expanded the beekeeping ordinance in the city to allow bees at schools and universities throughout Sioux Falls.

Since then, excitement has grown over the potential to use bees for educational purposes. Universities like Augustana have already jumped on board with beekeeping on their campus.

Just four days ago, Augustana welcomed two beehives to its campus after months of preparation.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Greg Neizert highlighted the anticipation for beekeeping at Augustana after losing their original beehives due to the previous city ordinance and why he felt the need to get involved.

“We used to just allow bees in a homeowner’s backyard, and then I saw a news article that said that Augustana had started raising bees, but then they were told they couldn’t. I thought colleges should be able to do that for sustainability and educational purposes, so I brought an ordinance forward to address that,” said Neizert.

He discussed the desire for educational beekeeping in the community.

“I had a number of schools that were interested, including Southeast Tech and Augustana, and a couple of middle schools and high schools are thinking about doing it like the Sioux Falls School District,” said Neizert.

Janae Becher, an Augustana student and head beekeeper, shared her excitement about the opportunity.

“We’ve been preparing this whole semester, starting probably in February, making sure that we’re able to secure this site and start building the fence, and we were waiting and waiting for the bees to come,” said Becher.

She shared the hands-on approach the program offers.

“All of this is led by students and really advocates for student engagement. Because I have these bees on campus, I’m able to make that more personal connection within my research,” said Becher.

She also spoke about her hopes for inspiring students to continue beekeeping in the future.

“We hope that through this, it will become more of a learning experience for the rest of people’s lives,” said Becher.

Becher is excited to see the program evolve over the years and to see other schools and universities take part in beekeeping.