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It’s all about the honey (bees) at Arboretum

Beekeeper Greg Fischer shows visitors the Morton Arboretum'sresident bees.
Beekeeper Greg Fischer shows visitors the Morton Arboretum'sresident bees.

Facts

Honey Bee Weekend Saturday, Sept. 7 and Sunday, Sept. 8, with some pre-weekend events on Thursday, Sept . 5 and Friday, Sept. 6 Morton Arboretum, 4100 Route 53, Lisle (630) 719-2468; mortonarb.org

Honey Bee Weekend

Saturday, Sept. 7 and Sunday, Sept. 8, with some pre-weekend events on Thursday, Sept . 5 and Friday, Sept. 6

Morton Arboretum, 4100 Route 53, Lisle

(630) 719-2468; mortonarb.org

Honey bees are our friends — big time.

“About 30 percent of our food relies on honey bees for pollination,” said Greg Fischer, beekeeper for the Morton Arboretum. Visitors will learn a lot about bees and honey during Honey Bee Weekend at the Arboretum, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 7 and 8.

“September is honey month,” noted Diana Fischer-Woods, Arboretum special events coordinator. “We have our own bee hives here and our own beekeeper. It seemed to be a really nice fit to have an event that would feature that and make people more aware of the important role of bees.”

Fischer-Woods, who is the president and apiarist of Wild Blossom Meadery & Winery, will host a pre-weekend Honey & Mead Dinner in the Ginkgo Restaurant, 6 p.m. Thursday. The honey-themed menu will be paired with a variety of different meads, which are honey-flavored wines.

“Mead is the most sustainable wine on earth,” Fischer related. “To produce one bottle of mead, the bees will pollinate about two million flowers. It turns those flowers into 20-40 million new seeds and produces that many more flowers.”

The dinner costs $50 for members, $55 for nonmembers.

Fischer-Woods, who maintains the Arboretum’s 40 hives and produces the honey for the Arboretum, will lead Bee Hive Tours, 9-11 a.m. Friday and Sunday. The cost is $22 for members and $30 for nonmembers.

“Probably about that time the goldenrod flowers will be in bloom. They’ll be able to see the pollen on the legs of the bees,” Fischer-Woods said.

She wasn’t sure if he would be opening any hives during the tour. “It all depends on the mood of the bees,” she explained. “If the bees are a little agitated, we don’t want people running for the hills.” Participants will, however, get to taste fresh honey.

From 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, there will be a Honey Expo with vendors selling honey-related products such as mead, baklava and honey-based jams.

“We have the Cook-DuPage Beekeepers Association here,” Fischer-Woods added. “We bring a living hive and they talk to people about the importance of bees.”

Another weekend highlight will be Honey Lunch & Learn: Healthy Bees, Healthy Food , 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday in the Thornhill Education Center. The event will include a honey-themed buffet lunch plus a discussion by entomologist and author May Berenbaum of the University of Illinois. The cost is $22 for members, $30 for nonmembers.

There will also be two family activities.

Happy Bee-Day! will be going on all day Saturday and Sunday in the Children’s Garden. Activities will include learning the bee dance, making a bee mask and a variety of other craft projects and activities.

There will be 45-minute family-friendly Honey Bee Hikes at 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m. 2 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Members pay $5, nonmembers $6.

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Facts

Honey Bee Weekend Saturday, Sept. 7 and Sunday, Sept. 8, with some pre-weekend events on Thursday, Sept . 5 and Friday, Sept. 6 Morton Arboretum, 4100 Route 53, Lisle (630) 719-2468; mortonarb.org
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